Muslims join Christians in mourning Gojra dead

Published: August 2, 2011
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Rioters in Gojra ran amok over rumours of desecration of the Holy Quran. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Rioters in Gojra ran amok over rumours of desecration of the Holy Quran. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

GOJRA: 

Two years after the tragedy, the Christian community in Gojra was joined by a handful of Muslims in commemorating the vicious attack on their neighbourhood in which seven Christians were burnt alive.

A memorial service was conducted at the Sacred Heart Church in Gojra for those who lost their lives on July 31, 2009, when a Muslim mob – incited by local mosques over allegations of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – surrounded and set on fire dozens of Christian houses.

In what appeared to be a sign of healing ties between the Christian and Muslim communities, the Catholic priests were joined by Muslim ulema. The Bishop of Faisalabad Joseph Coutts presided over the ceremony which was attended by around 350 people.

The speakers, both Christian and Muslim, spoke of a shared revulsion against violence perpetrated in the name of religion.

“All sections of society should rise above social biases and condemn such madness in the name of religion,” said Father Younis Yaqoob. “This not only defies the country’s law but also brings shame to all of humanity.”

Tahir Naveed, a member of the Punjab Assembly, spoke out against the tendency of people to exact what they perceive to be vigilante justice, particularly in blasphemy cases.

“If a person has committed a crime, he should be prosecuted in a court of law,” he said. None of the speakers, neither Christian nor Muslim, spoke out against the law itself and focused only on what they described as its abuse. Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were killed earlier this year by fanatics who perceived them to be opposed to the blasphemy law.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Urooj
    Aug 2, 2011 - 10:52AM

    Hahaha, why am I not surprised. Apparently, free speech is only guaranteed if you’re in favour of what the religious right supports.

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  • kevin
    Aug 2, 2011 - 12:10PM

    Agree with you Urooj , whats the use of this anniversary even when none of the accused has so far been sentenced . It’s just a Topi Drama by Punjab Government to keep things calm .

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  • Architect
    Aug 2, 2011 - 12:14PM

    Nice effort. One should respect religious & humanitarian laws at the same time.
    Our problem in justice. Ensure rule of law, then there will be no such incident.

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  • Observer
    Aug 2, 2011 - 5:24PM

    The treatment of minorities in Pakistan is really mind boggling!

    Perhaps one day, we will get a real secular, strong and visionary leader in Pakistan, who will put things in order, and work to improve the life of downtrodden and underprivilged. We can always dream, right!

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  • Cautious
    Aug 2, 2011 - 5:56PM

    How many Muslims were arrested and convicted in connection with burning Christians alive? You really don’t have to Google the answer do you — and that tells you something about Pakistan!

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Aug 2, 2011 - 6:16PM

    This is a pure “Drama” similar to a minority member delivering speech on Punjab Budget. The donors know how minorities are treated at all level. Simply crocodile tears. Where are those terrorists who were behind these burnings and killings ??????Recommend

  • Aug 2, 2011 - 6:54PM

    Ironically, many of these Muslims would still side with the anti-minority shariah laws. Clearly, there are way too many moaners and way too few doers.

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