Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 05 August |
The Commemoration of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major
home iconNews
line break icon

Church Leaders Call for Calm Amid Pakistan Protests

© Arif ALI / AFP

UCAnews - published on 09/24/13 - updated on 06/08/17

Christians and Muslims clash following Peshawar suicide bombing

Church leaders in Pakistan have called for calm as Christian protests turned violent last night following the double suicide bombing of the historic All Saints Church in Peshawar on Sunday.

As the death toll climbed to 85 people following the worst attack against Christians in Pakistani history, clashes broke out between Christian protesters and Muslims in Karachi leaving one dead, police said.

Officers reportedly fired tear gas and live ammunition into the air in an attempt to disperse crowds on what was the chaotic first of three days of demonstrations planned by Pakistan’s Christian communities.

“A series of countrywide protests is on in all cities of the country,” said Archbishop Joseph Coutts, president of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, as he called for calm.

The archbishop was speaking at a press conference at Karachi’s Holy Trinity Church, attended by leaders of political parties including the pro-Muslim Jamaat Islami and liberal Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

“I am thankful to our Muslim, Hindu and Sikh brothers for joining us in this time of grief and misery,” said Coutts.

Bishop Sadiq Daniel of Karachi and Baluchistan warned that the attack, which also injured 150 people, showed that “no-one is safe in Pakistan.

“Government officials, political leaders, the armed forces and places of worship are all targets of the Taliban,” he said.

Jundallah, a group linked to the Pakistani Taliban, immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a response to US drone strikes. But the Taliban itself condemned the bombing, a move analysts say is common by the group when a terrorist attack claims a large number of civilian casualties.

Although authorities put the toll at 85, reports said many more may have died because some family members took away their dead relatives straight after the blasts.

Burials of the dead began yesterday in Peshawar with hundreds of men, women and children gathered around the coffins of their dead relatives, many of them crying.

Although the Peshawar attack is the latest in a series against Christians in Pakistan, who make up less than two percent of the population, Sunday’s blasts represent the deadliest against minority Christians in the country’s history.

In response, authorities have stepped up the police presence around Christian churches after criticism that security had been inadequate.

Originally published on UCAnews on 24 September 2013. Used with permission. All other rights reserved. 

Tags:
CatholicismChristians in the Middle EastPakistan
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
2
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
3
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
4
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
5
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
6
AMERICA'S GOT TALENT
Cerith Gardiner
Nightbirde’s beautiful message as she drops out of TV show
7
Gianmarco Tamberi AND Mutaz Essa Barshim
Cerith Gardiner
This Olympic event captures the true meaning of the Games
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.