CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 September 2017

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Good Muslims obstacle to Islamic State

Dhaka and Baghdad (Agencies): Christian leaders in Bangladesh condemned the July 7 terrorist attack on the country’s largest Eid al-Fitr prayer gathering in Kishoreganj, UCA News reported.

Four people were killed and 30 injured when a group of Islamic extremists threw bombs and shot at police outside the venue where around 300,000 people had gathered to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. 

Bangladesh is still reeling from the terror strike at a Dhaka café on July 1 when militants killed 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners.

Theophil Nokrek, the secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission, called the attack on a major religious festival the “most condemnable and shameful act.”

He said, “I am speechless. I don’t know how they can call themselves Muslims,” adding that the militants might have been trying to attract maximum attention by targeting such a large gathering on Eid.

“The attacks prove that militants have no religion and no respect for innocent, religious people,” Nirmol Rozario, the secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association, said, adding that Maolana Fariduddin Masoud, the head imam of the nearby Sholakia mosque, had recently collected 100,000 signatures from Islamic leaders calling for a fatwa against terrorism.

“The militants consider good Muslims to be obstacles to their caliphate or Islamic rule,” he said.

“The government needs to engage the general public more in their anti-militancy efforts,” Rozario added. “Because militants come out from our families and society, merely arresting or killing them won’t help.” 

Meanwhile CNS reported that in Bagdhad, Iraq, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako, addressed a prayer service in Karrada on July 7 for the victims of the July 3 bombing that killed more than 290 people and wounded 200.

“In such a tragedy, we are joining millions of Muslims in praying for the affected families, that God may have mercy on the victims and bless the wounded with a speedy recovery,” the patriarch said as he called for tolerance and forgiveness in the fight against extremism, hatred and terrorism.

In offering his condolences, Patriarch Sako said, “We express our shock, sadness and solidarity with Iraqis and strongly condemn these cruel acts that affected innocent people, stole the happiness of preparing to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and converted it to a national mourning.” 

The patriarch said terrorism had nothing to do with religion, “but may be linked to political games that allow killing of Muslims, Christians, Mandaeans and Yezidis as infidels.” 

He added, “Everyone should understand that killing innocent people leads to hell rather than to heaven.”

Patriarch Sako said, “If the government was coherent and politicians worked as one team, the Islamic State wouldn’t be able to commit these crimes; tamper with the country’s security and stability, killing thousands of innocent people; displacing millions; and destroying the Iraqi national fabric and peaceful co-existence.”

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