Source: The News
Islamabad: The Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL) has condemned the unfortunate incident of burning of a historic church and its attached buildings in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa late Friday afternoon.
A crowd targeted the historic ‘Sarhadi Lutheran Church’, built back in 1937 and set it on fire. In the fire, the church building, the Pastor House, the Bishop House and the attached building of a Christian school were burnt down to ashes.
PIL Chairman Sajid Ishaq Sandhu, who visited the site in Mardan today (Saturday) while talking to ‘The News’ on his return said that it was a saddening incident.
He said that the incident has come at a time when hectic efforts are being made to promote religious harmony, tolerance and peace between the followers of Islam and other religions in the country aimed at entrenching a sense of nationalism. “The crowd grabbed the 12 years old Zeshan Masih, son of the local Padri of the Church Chan Masih, and tried to throw up in burning church building. However, some people with the help of police rescued him,” Sajid Ishaq said.
Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Maulana Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, who is presently in Barcelona, Spain, after attending an international conference on religious tolerance, also strongly condemned the burning of the church in Mardan. “The people involved in this unfortunate incident could never be taken as the followers of Islam because Islam teaches tolerance and peace and preaches respect for all other religions equally,” Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said while talking to ‘The News’ from Barcelona.
“This is a highly condemnable act by a few misguided persons and the government should take strong action against those behind this incident. This should be clearly understood that the burning of this church is nothing but an act of insanity and has nothing do with the teachings and preaching of Islam,” Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said.