Church leader condemns Peshawar bombing, Quran desecration in Sweden

LAHORE: The Church of Pakistan (CoP) on Tuesday condemned the dastardly terrorist attack on a mosque in Peshawar as well as the abhorrent act of desecration of the holy Quran in Sweden by a right-wing politician.

“The CoP strongly condemns the brutal bombing of the mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines and the disrespectful desecration of the holy Quran in Sweden.

“These acts of violence and intolerance have no place in our societies and go against the teachings of love, peace, and respect for all religions. We stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters and call for an end to such hateful actions,” CoP Moderator Bishop Dr Azad Marshall said in a statement.

Bishop Marshall stated that the resurgence of terrorism in Pakistan was a cause of serious concern for all Pakistanis, especially in wake of the economic challenges facing the nation.

“Our armed forces have fought valiantly against terrorism over the years and laid down their lives for peace and security in our homeland. It is unfortunate that the scourge of terrorism has once again risen its head in the country and innocent lives are being lost on a daily basis for the past few months.

“We express solidarity with the families of the martyred policemen and soldiers who are on the frontlines of this war against terrorism. They are in our thoughts and prayers and we hope the government will take concrete measures to curb terrorism,” he stated.

The church leader also condemned the desecration of the holy Quran by a Swedish far-right politician.

“Such actions are not covered under any legitimate expression of the right to freedom of expression or opinion, which carries responsibilities under international human rights law, such as the obligation not to carry out hate speech and incite people to violence,” he said.

Bishop Marshall also pointed out to the continuous misuse of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, saying he had repeatedly called for legislation to deter false accusations.

“Extremism breeds terrorism and there’s an urgent need for introspection on the government level. It must curb hate speech against minority sects and faiths and act immediately to legislate on the misuse of the blasphemy laws,” he said.

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