10/04/2012, 00.00
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Faisalabad, Muslim-Christian march for peace and religious freedom

by Shafique Khokhar
Peaceful protesters take to the streets of the city calling for an end to sectarian violence. Condemnation against the blasphemous film that sowed death and destruction. Christian leader: "negotiations" for peace and greater state presence. Muslim politicians: the government must promote respect for ethno-religious "diversity".

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - A Christian-Muslim march to demand an end to the violence against religious minorities, respect for human rights and an end to the personal attacks against journalists, women and innocent workers. It is an initiative promoted by civil society of Faisalabad (Punjab), under the motto "Non-violence for a peaceful coexistence." Supporters of the march include Peace and Human Development (Phd Foundation), led by Christian leader Suneel Malik, and the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (Awam), led by Christian Naseem Anthony.

The demonstration in the streets of the city (pictured) was held on October 2, coinciding with the celebration of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, World Day for peace and non-violence , held for the first time in 2007, according to the guiding principles of the Indian leader who was assassinated by a Hindu extremist in 1948.

The demonstrators, both Christians and Muslims, together condemned all forms of violence, torture and discrimination perpetrated in the name of religion. They also condemned the attacks on the sensibilities of the faithful, citing the case of anti-Islamic film "The innocence of Muslims" that sowed death and destruction around the world.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the leader of Phd Foundation Suneel Malik points out that "the State must promote peace and harmony" and to achieve the goal needs "a table of negotiations" between the various factions. Naseem Anthony, of Awam, denounced "the murders of journalists who try to tell the truth behind the facts" and stressed that the profession is now considered a harbinger "of death" in Pakistan.

The Muslim politician Arif Ayaz appeals to the government, to "respect and promote the of ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity " that make up the country, to create a true "climate of harmony." Nasreen Bukhari, of the Muslim union, said that "a culture of non-violence can be made possible only if each individual - and all society - aims" for peace and social harmony. Finally activist Asghar Shaheen, of the Islamic faith and committed to the defense of workers' rights, affirmed "the State must ensure compliance with the law" and at the same time "protect the rights of marginalized groups such as minorities, workers, women, children and disabled. "


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