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Friday, 18 March 2011

Italian Christians express their great sadness at the loss of Shahbaz Bhatti - his memory will live on!

I have received a most wonderful email from our brothers in Italy. The Italian Pakistani Christian Community has been galvanised by the recent vist of Shahbaz Bhatti before he died. Already they have organised a Holy Mass and will be holding a grand memorial service on the 2nd April. Brother Mobeen Shahid is a Professor of Philosophy at the Vatican University in an email he wrote (verbatim):


thank you very much for the e-mail!

I am following the situation of the Christians in Pakistan through the catholic bishops of Pakistan and through the channels of the Holy See.

I have been a close friend of Shahbaz Bhatti and was next to him during his visit in Rome with Zardari and later on to the Pope.

On Shahbaz's indications we have made not only an association of Pakistani Christians in Italy but also two other associations one in the Italian parliament and one in the Italian foreign office of friendship with Pakistan. These are the channels which allow me to move politically for the Christians of Pakistan.

I would like to inform you that we as association of Christians in Italy organized a manifestation for the liberation of Asia Bibi on the 26th of January 2011 with the Italian parliamentarians, amnesty international and other 60 civil and state institutions.

On the 6th of March we organized a Holy mass to remember our brother minister Shahbaz Bhatti presided by Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontifical Counsel for Inter-religious dialogue.

On the 2nd of April we are organizing with the Community of St. Egidio a memorial service in Rome for Shahbaz with the presence of Shahbaz's brother Paul Bhatti, Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad and the Imam of Badshahi Mosque Lahore.

My professor colleagues want to give a PhD. Honorary degree to Shahbaz Bhatti, by the State University of Campobasso, which probably will be given at the occasion of the forty days after Shahbaz's death organized with us, association of Pakistani Christians in Italy, by the Pakistani embassy in Rome. We will have some cardinals from the Holy see and also the Italian foreign minister with us seen that Shahbaz was their personal friend. After the "Chaleeswan" ceremony a book of honour will be signed and will be sent by the embassy to the Family of our deceased friend.

I hope these details help to explain that even if the extremists have been able to kill Shahbaz Bhatti but they will not be able to abolish his memories and the work he started.

with cordial Regards!

Prof. Mobeen Shahid
Pontificia Università Lateranense

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