Wednesday, 2 March 2011

More evidence of violent persecution

We are living in an age of martyrs.

See here for the story behind the murder of the Pakistan government’s minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, and one of the few remaining public figures in that country (most of the others have also been murdered) openly to campaign for reform of its (Islamic) blasphemy laws. He was shot dead in broad daylight in a residential area of Islamabad.

The Vatican has condemned the murder of Mr Bhatti as an "unspeakable" act of violence.
The attack was a "new act of violence of a terrible gravity," said papal spokesman Federico Lombardi,
"To our prayers for the victim, our condemnation of the act of unspeakable violence, our closeness to the Pakistani Christians subject to hate, we add an appeal concerning the dramatic urgency of the defense of religious freedom and of Christians who are suffering from violence and persecution," he added.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York also condemned the assassination saying, ".....This further instance of sectarian bigotry and violence will increase anxiety worldwide about the security of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan, and we urge that the government of Pakistan will do all in its power to bring to justice those guilty of such crimes and to give adequate protection to minorities...."

And see here for the recent report of Egyptian military personnel firing on a Coptic monastery.
The Mubarak government, essentially a military regime, although outwardly secular, was no friend to the Copts or to any faith other than Islam; we must pray that the new administration when (if?)  it is allowed to emerge will be more tolerant than its predecessor. Perhaps the sale of arms to such countries and even aid programmes should be tied far more closely than they have been to a proven track record of respect for human rights.

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