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Christians and Muslims stand against terrorism

LAHORE (AsiaNews): Leaders from the Islamic and Catholic faiths came together to lead an interfaith vigil in memory of the 76 people who died in the March 27 Easter Sunday terror attack in Lahore, Pakistan, on April 2.

Although it was claimed by the perpetrators that Christians were the target of the attack, in fact, only 17 of the dead have been identified as Christian and the bulk of the remainder are Muslim.

Hafiz Muhammad Nauman, from the World Council of Religions, told the gathering, “We always blame each other every time terror strikes the nation. Any Muslim who joins a terror group does not belong to our religion anymore. Terrorists are our common enemy; their religion is terrorism, not Islam. When they kill, they don’t draw a line between Christian and Muslim victims.”

Nauman was among several people who addressed the Interfaith Memorial Service at the Dominican Peace Centre. The speakers paid tribute to the victims of the suicide bombing.

Psalms of sadness punctuated a programme that started with recitations from the bible and Qur’an, and concluded with the lighting of candles in the memory of the dead.

A Muslim professor blamed ignorance and illiteracy for infecting young minds with fanaticism. 

“We have nothing to say but broken words. If you can’t make this world heaven, there is no other. Religion is meant to be acted upon, not used for killing people. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and Islam also teaches brotherhood,” he said.

Many more people remain in a critical condition and the death toll is expected to rise. Father James Channan, the director of the Dominican Centre for Peace, read the names of all the victims and demanded compensation for the affected families.

“The attack on Easter Sunday is a conspiracy to spark sectarian fighting in the country, but the religious leaders are united against terrorism. It is time to step outside; interfaith rallies on the streets can discourage the militants. We are not afraid of them,” he said, thanking the Islamic community for observing a Day of Prayer in all the mosques on the previous day.

 The Muslim speakers also announced that a Day of Tolerance will be observed on April 8.

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