Pakistani Christians denounce Indian Muslims victims of riots – UCA News
Church leaders in Pakistan have called on the Indian government to guarantee the safety of minority Muslims as they organized a peace program following last week's anti-Muslim riots in New Delhi. At least 42 people, mostly Muslims, were killed and 250 injured when crowds of Hindus attacked Muslim areas in northwest New Delhi during the three-day riot that began on February 23. "The Indian government must take immediate action to guarantee the security of all its citizens, regardless of their faith," said Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, during the peace program in Karachi on March 1. Police and administration were charged with appeasement when men armed with bricks, iron rods and wooden sticks attacked Muslims in the streets and torched Muslim homes, vehicles and shops. "We are concerned about the incidents that are happening in New Delhi," said Cardinal Coutts, the only cardinal in the nation with a Muslim majority, while attending the program organized by the National Commission for Justice and Justice. Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church. Religious leaders and civil rights groups gathered at the Karachi Press Club as part of the program and then organized a peaceful march through the port city with a banner and a crucifix.
Father Saleh Diego, vicar general of Karachi and archdiocesan director of the NCJP, urged Christians in Pakistan to "fast and pray" on March 6 for peace in India.
Tension has been rampant in India since December 11 after the federal government amended a law to grant citizenship to migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The law, however, excluded Muslims from the provision, triggering protests.
The riot started when a group of Hindus who supported the amendment attacked a group of people, mainly Muslims, who were demonstrating on a public street in Delhi.
Lay people and religious groups also oppose the law, claiming that it not only discriminates against Muslims but also violates the secular principles of the Indian constitution. They also accuse the government of the pro-Hindu BJP party of trying to make India a uniquely Hindu nation with such policies.
The first Indian law that explicitly targets the more than 180 million Muslims in India has sparked nationwide protests.
Sabir Michal, university professor and human rights activist, said that the ruling party and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have violated numerous international conventions.
"India's international reputation has been defeated after unleashing a reign of terror over its Muslim minority population," he said. Lawyer Yunus Khan, president of the minority wing of Jamiat-e-Islami, an Islamist political party in Pakistan, thanked the Catholic Church for its initiatives. Cardinal Coutts, in a press release, appreciated that the Sikhs and the Christians of New Delhi open their gurdwara and churches to families affected by the riots. He noted that even some Hindu families were home to Muslims. Father Diego also thanked Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking a "firm stand" in the wake of the Delhi riots. Anti-Muslim riots in India often have a ripple effect on Hindus in predominantly Muslim Pakistan. "Be aware! Our minorities are equal citizens of this country," said Imran Khan. Father Diego said that Khan's statement "strengthened not only Hindus but also all minorities in Pakistan". Hindu-Muslim violence is part of sub-continental history, as Hindus regard Muslims as the descendants of those who have invaded their land, plundered and attacked their people since the 11th century.
Hostility between communities resulted in the partition of British India into Pakistan and India in 1947.
Hindu-Muslim riots continued in India, which has some 180 million Muslims among its 1.2 billion inhabitants, 80% of whom are Hindus. In contrast, Hindus make up only 8 million, or just 4% of the estimated 200 million people in Pakistan, where Muslims make up about 95%. In both countries, Christians are a very small minority, they represent only 3% or 27 million people in India and only 2% or 4 million in Pakistan.
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