Faisalabad: Christians and Muslims back pope’s peace message
by Shafique Khokhar
For the 45th World Day of Peace, Christian associations organise demonstrations against extremism, discrimination, intolerance and terrorism in Pakistani society. Citing Benedict XVI peace message, one participant stresses the “education challenge” Pakistan faces.
Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Pakistani Christians and Muslims took part in two peaceful demonstrations to underscore the need of “Educating Young People in Justice and Peace”, which is the theme Benedict XVI chose for the 45th World Day of peace. Some 60 people, including students, lawyers, workers, political leaders and civil society representatives marched in Tandlianwala and Faisalabad against discrimination, extremism, intolerance and terrorism in Pakistani society.

Two associations, Peace and Human Development (PHD) and Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM), organised the two events, held respectively on 1 and 2 January.

For one participant, Naseem Anthony, the education challenge cited in the papal message, means, for Pakistan, reviewing the “ educational curriculum” to eliminate “biased material in order to make it a source of peace promotion, whereas material promoting human rights, peace, harmony and religious, sectarian and ethnic tolerance must be included in the syllabus.”

Similarly, the government has to respect and promote ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity in order to build a culture of tolerance in Pakistan, said PHD Foundation head Suneel Malik. It “must put an end to the violence sparked by ethnicity, colour and creed.”

For her part, AWAM chief Nazia Sardar stressed the need for “unity and harmony among communities” as a “necessary step” towards establishing peace in Pakistan.