07/13/2009, 00.00
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Indian Muslim: attacks against Christians in Iraq "brutal crimes"

by Nirmala Carvalho
Asghar Ali Engineer condemns the attacks in Baghdad against Christian churches. He emphasizes that violence "has nothing to do with the precepts of Islam" and is the work of "fundamentalists." The scholar prays for the victims and families and hopes to promote a "peaceful and lasting co-existence."

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "I absolutely condemn the attacks on churches in the world. I am overwhelmed by feelings of sorrow and remorse at the news of attacks on churches in Iraq”. So  says Asghar Ali Engineer, a Muslim scholar well-known in India for his struggles for human rights in Islam to AsiaNews commenting on the attack yesterday on the Christian community in Iraq. A series of car bomb struck seven Chaldean and Orthodox churches of the city of Baghdad, causing four deaths and about twenty wounded.     The Indian scholar "as a human being and of Muslim faith" defines the  attack as a " brutal crime” "against the Christian religion, against humanity, that  is not Islam, has nothing to do with the precepts of Islam. This is the work of fundamentalists. "     Here, below, the interview with Asghar Ali Engineer to AsiaNews:

How do you comment on the news of attack by al Qaeda to avenge the "martyr of the veil," the pregnant Muslim woman killed in a court of Dresden by a German of Russian origin?

Terrorists have no law, they are people without a law. Whoever is behind al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, are extremist groups, which certainly do not represent the Muslim community. These terrorists act on their own, no law can govern them and revenge is something that has nothing to do with religion. A person with a religious sense, never seeks revenge, but forgiveness.


As a Muslim scholar, what would you like to say to Iraqi Christians?

As a human being, as a person of faith, and as a Muslim, with all of my being, I want to reiterate that this is a brutal crime. I pray for the victims, the dead and wounded, and I pray that Allah will console the families and relatives in mourning. I also pray for al Qaeda, because Allah grant them wisdom and ability to forgive.  


How do you rate the conditions of the Christian minority in Iraq?

All minorities should be protected wherever they are in Iraq, India, Pakistan. The whole world should be aware of aggression against minorities, whoever they are: Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists ... Their lives and their properties must be preserved and protected. The places of worship of religious minorities should be guaranteed.


Do you believe that this incident could undermine the Islamic-Christian dialogue?

The urgency of a peaceful coexistence is a matter of grave concern and as a result of these attacks it efforts to further strengthen the dialogue between Christians and Muslims at all levels becomes even more important: between spiritual leaders, as well as at a grass roots level. We must remove suspicion and distrust and work for a peaceful and lasting coexistence. All men of peace must seek dialogue and common understanding, we must also reject and condemn all forms of violence and work towards a society of peace , understanding and mutual respect.

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