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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Article Received via Sister Agnes Massey from the Canada Chapter of PCC

The article was written by Xavier Williams:

About 150 Muslims attacked on Christian colony Pahar Ganj, Pakistan, after a petty dispute between Muslim fruit vendor and Christian customer on February 25 in port city of Karachi. The Christian customer reportedly chose a piece of fruit, an act that that was not welcomed by the Muslim vendor who then attacked and beat the Christian.

Since the Muslim vendor was on main entrance of residential area of more than 1,500 homes of Christians known as Pahar Ganj, some Christians approached and wanted to diffuse the situation. Now angered, the vendor cried “Muslims brothers come and let us teach lesson to Bangis.” "Bangi” is a derogatory term used to describe Christians by non-Christians in the Sindh province of Pakistan while “Churra” is used in Punjab province and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Pahar Ganj is situated in Central Distinct of Karachi with more than 5,000 registered voters while there are 3 million Christians in Karachi - the largest city in the country. A Muslim mob also vandalized St. Mary’s Church, of the Anglican Church of Pakistan, attacking shops and destroying motorcycles.

The Pathan community surrounds the Christian colony of Pathar Ganj and hate among Pushtuns settled in Karachi has been endemic. The Pastor of St Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi said, "The people were very frightened, but now all is calm. Certainly, in the city the climate is rather tense, especially the conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that has reached the point of extreme violence. Sometimes, religious minorities like Christians are victims of this simmering tension, which is at the point of explosion for petty reasons. After the riots on Sunday, police took control of the situation and now patrol the streets of the neighborhood. Even the churches are protected by guards" St. Mary Church of Pakistan, and the Interdenominational Calvary Church, were also damaged. The local Christians retaliated by pelting the Muslims with stones until law enforcement officers brought the situation under control.

The various Christian organizations like Life for All, Protect Foundation Pakistan, Christian Youth Alliance and Christian Development Foundation condemned the incident. Rizwan Paul, President of Life for All, said “Our religion speaks of love and peace. We have not registered any case in the police station even though our places of worship came under fire. We forgive the attackers but demand both communities not to give a religious tint to their personal clashes.”

I cannot verify the facts and hope other corroborating evidence is provided with time.

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