07/08/2005, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Pakistani Muslims fear retaliations after the London bombings

Muslims fears they might suffer repercussions from being associated with terrorism. The executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace warns "against falling into the trap of inter-religious hatred".

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – A day after the London bombings, Peter Jacob, executive secretary National Commission for Justice and Peace, warned against "becoming victims of the terrorist plan that seeks to divide by fuelling inter-religious hatred". Pakistani Muslims are especially concerned about a possible backlash.

Mr Jacob said that "Pakistanis are first and foremost saddened by the great loss of life, but at the same time they are scared because every time something like this happens involving al-Qaeda, they fear reactions of intolerance and discrimination abroad against their overseas compatriots, and are worried about repercussions at home, which is a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism".

For the secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, the fact that a representative of the   Jamaat-e-Islami, the most important party in the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (the coalition of six Islamic parties that constitutes the second largest political group in parliament), called yesterday's events "very tragic" and condemned the attacks was highly significant.

Mr Jacob urged government and civil society to stay away from the trap of confusing terrorism and Islam.

That this may be the greatest fear was confirmed today by Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), who, in the wake of the blasts in the British capital, invited everyone to remain calm and expressed "his concern about their repercussions on the Muslim community."

For this reason, "he urged British Muslims to "remain vigilant but calm" and said that "the IHRC invites [them] to go out only if necessary and advised women not to leave home alone in the current situation".

Sorrow and concern are shared by Pakistani Christians. "Christians," Mr Jacob, "have reacted the same way. Such events concern all of us and the sense of uncertainty and instability they cause is great. But getting caught up in it would be playing into the terrorists' hands".

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Pakistani Muslims: "Deviant" youths in London have defamed Islam
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