Muslims ask forgiveness for attack on Christians in Faisalabad

September 1, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistan, August 30, 2016: A violent incident that involved Christians in Khushal Town, Faisalabad district, ended in an apology from the Muslim community. Two weeks ago, a group of Muslims attacked local Christians, but after a series of meetings and discussions, the two communities reconciled.

On 19 August, Adnan Masih, a Christian worker of 22, accidentally hit a Muslim as he rode his motorcycle. The victim is the brother-in-law of an influential local Muslim leader, Muhammad Umer Hayat.

Despite repeated apologies from the Christian man, the Muslim man started beating him along with other people, and then the mob stormed the Christian quarter attacking residents. At least four people ended up in hospital. Adnan suffered fractures and 16 stitches.

Three days after the incident, on 22 August, some Christian leaders together with human rights activist Robin Daniel and former MP George Clement went to the police station to file a complaint in connection with the attack and to ask protection for Christians.

On 26 August, the leaders from the Christian communities living in the colonies near Khushal Town gathered at the meeting to discuss the issue. On that occasion, they set up two legal committees and decided that the whole community would meet the officer of the special police at the station, to ask him to enforce the criminal code on mass attacks and trespassing with criminal intent.

On 28 August, Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Khalil Tahir Sandhu arrived on a visit to Faisalabad. Community leaders told him about the tensions between Muslims and Christians in Khushal Town. The minister spoke in favour of normalising relations, and that evening the leaders of the two religious communities came together.

Christians warned Muslims that Catholics are now better prepared to respond to incidents such as those of Shanti Nagar, Gojra and Sanglahill. The international community, they said, can be alerted within minutes and Pakistan is committed to protecting minorities according to the principles of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Two days after this meeting, yesterday, 30 August, Muslims and Christians met again to finalise the peace agreement in the presence of witnesses and city dignitaries.

The perpetrators of the attack apologised in public and eight Muslim leaders said that they guaranteed the durability of reconciliation.

Christian victims accepted the apology and today the official documents were delivered to the responsible committee.

Speaking to AsiaNews Robin Daniel, president of the National Minorities’ Alliance Pakistan, described the outcome of negotiations as something extraordinary.

“This is the first time in the history of the city that 60 Muslims apologise in public for their violent acts and promise not to offend verbally Christians living peacefully. I thank all the Christian leaders who supported us on this path of reconciliation.”

– asianews

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