LAHORE: The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority’s (PTA) decision to ban ‘Jesus Christ’ from text messages is a blow to interfaith harmony and offensive to Muslim as well as Christian sensibilities, Dr Allama GR Chishti, the chairman of Ifhamul Quran International, said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Lahore Press Club, Chishti appealed to the president and prime minister to order an inquiry into who had made the decision to ban mentions of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), and to prosecute them under the blasphemy law.
Chishti said that he formed the Ifhamul Quran to try and promote understanding of Islam, in response to the burning of a Holy Quran by a Florida pastor. He said those who criticised the pastor should not be keeping silent about the PTA ban.
“Christians all over the world lamented this deplorable crime [the burning incident] but unfortunately here, we Muslims are not as sensitive to their feelings as we should be,” he said.
“When there is an uneducated sweeper involved, the so-called lovers of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) leave no stone unturned to demand he or she be prosecuted, regardless of proof. This attitude must stop now.” He added that the PTA’s action had also sabotaged the efforts of NGOs to promote harmony between Christians and Muslims.
Chishti said the PTA’s actions were also offensive to Muslims, since they too believed Jesus Christ (pbuh) to be a messenger of God. Those who made the decision to ban ‘Jesus Christ’ from text messages did not understand the Holy Quran, he said. “Muslims believe in all the prophets of Allah and have equal respect for all,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2011.