Clearly unaware of, or nonchalant, about the culture and practices of Muslims in Pakistan, a US solider who was accompanying US Ambassador Cameron Munter, entered the historic Sunehri Mosque with his shoes on, a mistake for which Munter had to issue a public apology, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to the locals, however, the commando denied to take his shoes off when asked to do so before entering the mosque.
Agitated locals claimed that the commando had mocked the feelings of Muslims by refusing to take his shoes off since a mosque was a house of God and its respect was obligatory on everyone.
According to witnesses, Munter, his wife and some other guests removed their shoes while entering the Sunehri Mosque but a US commando refused to do so. Some members of the delegation also reminded him to take his shoes off, however he did not remove them.
MUNTER APOLOGISES: However, when Munter heard of this incident he apologised through a statement that said, “I was saddened and disappointed to learn that one of my officers entered Lahore’s Sunehri Mosque during my visit there this morning without removing his shoes. I offer my sincere apologies over this incident and I assure you that my team and I share deepest respect for Pakistan’s holy places. I value my visit to Sunehri Mosque and I am honored by our contribution to the restoration work there.”
He said Pak-US friendship was based on confidence and love and they would further support Pakistan in various projects including energy and education.
Munter’s wife Marilyn Wyatt, Katie Kiser, Cultural Affairs Officer at US Consulate General Lahore and other officials were also present.
Munter said he was satisfied with the conservation works being done on the mosque with US funding.
Katie told Pakistan Today that the US had allocated $67,500 dollar for the renovation of the Sunahri mosque and the project would end in August 2012, adding that work was also being done on Alam Ghiri gate and Mosque Wazir Khan.