Archive for August, 2009

Attacks on Christians in Pakistan

The inhumane attacks on the homes of Pakistani Christians which resulted in the deaths of eight people is a major crime. Senior Muslim scholars from Pakistan personally known to me, have unambiguously condemned this as a serious crime, and a sin. They have shown their solidarity and extended hands of friendship to the bereaved Christian families. Amongst these scholars are the following: Pir Ameen al Hassanat, spiritual leader of the Chishtia order; Allama Syed Riaz Hussain Shah, President of Jammat ahl Sunna and Haji Fazal Karim. Our British charity Muslim Hands  has already visited the affected Christians to provide support to the victims and will continue to do so.

I would like the Pakistani High Commissioner in London to do two things to stop this kind of violence against minorities ever happening again:

1. Ensure that the police take seriously the issues of minorities and their treatment. This tragic incident could have been averted if the Pakistani police had taken notice of the Muslim-Christian tensions in the area.

2. Amend the blasphemy law so that it cannot be abused, or exploited, by extremists and others.

On behalf of British Muslims I urge the Pakistani government to take special measures to give respect and full rights, as well as protection, to our Christians neighbours.

I would also like to appeal to the British government to take positive action in promoting trust building and peace and reconciliation amongst Christians and Muslims in Pakistan.
Musharraf Hussain OBE, DL
Chair, Christian Muslim Forum

Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement, also Archbishop’s statement on recent violence against Christians in Nigeria

Islamic Society of North America’s statement

Make a donation to our ongoing bridge-building work, or to Muslim Hands or Christian Aid

Ramadan Mubarak 2009

The Muslim holy month of fasting – Ramadan – began on 22 August. The Christian Muslim Forum joins with many other Muslim, Christian and inter faith organisations in wishing our Muslim sisters and brothers a blessed Ramadan – Ramadan Mubarak – and God’s peace.

During Ramadan Muslims set aside time for increased devotion and drawing near to God as well as strengthening relationships with their neighbours. So for Christians Ramadan can be an opportunity to visit a mosque, spend more time with Muslim friends and colleagues and attend iftars (daily breaking of the fast). This kind of sharing creates opportunities later to invite Muslims to learn more about Christian devotions at key times of the year. Sharing and meeting together during Ramadan may also be a good start for thinking about what we may be able to do together during Inter Faith Week

Blasphemy law in Pakistan: open petition

Christians and Muslims around the world, as well as people of other faiths and those who do not adhere to any religion, will have been hearing with real concern, the news of the attacks on the Christian villages of Gojra and Qorian in Pakistan resulting in the deaths of at least seven innocent men, women and children. This was the latest in such attacks over many years and has attracted international condemnation from religious and political leadership in Pakistan and internationally.

One of the causes of such attacks is the ability of extremists and others with private motivations, to incite attacks on Christians and on occasion also on Muslims; and the inability of the police and local judiciary to protect innocent people. The blasphemy laws currently in force in Pakistan provide such people with the means to incite violence and seem to have played a part in the recent incidents which led to the death of a number of Christians.

Following widespread discussions with Christian partners and correspondents in Pakistan, Christian and Muslim organisations in the United Kingdom and with the Pakistan authorities, there is a desire amongst many people to express their concerns to the Government of Pakistan and to press for change in the blasphemy legislation and for the protection of Christians and others who are suffering from its abuse. To this end a petition is now available to be signed electronically and can be reached by clicking here and following the instructions.

The petition is signed by the Rt Revd Michael Jackson, who chairs the Anglican Communion Network for Inter Faith Concerns and by Dr Musharraf Hussain the Chair of the Christian Muslim Forum. This follows Dr Musharraf’s initial and those made by others. The Rt Revd David James, Bishop of Bradford, is the first petition signatory, it has also been signed by Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, Vice-Chair of the Christian Muslim Forum.

The petition will be delivered to the Pakistan Government and is intended to assist in their efforts to prevent further attacks. The more people who sign, the more effective the petition will be.

It is by actions such as these that people of faith and of goodwill can show their active concern for the good of the world and in this case their support of the Christian community of Pakistan and of Muslims who are concerned to take action and are supporting their Christian neighbours

Julian Bond

Christian Muslim Forum