20 years of keeping the peace: Christians and Muslims pray next to each other in a neighborhood of Faisalabad

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It has been more than 20 years now, since Nazimabad’ Muslims and Christians have been praying nest to each, without any conflict-ridden incident. In Nazimabad, a neighborhood of Punjab’ Faisalabad city has been witnessing a church and a mosque sharing a wall standing together on the road. The church was built in 1970, while the mosque was constructed in 1994.

Church and Mosque stand together in Faisalabad

What is more, it has been more than 20 years of synchronization and there has never been any violence or dispute. Father Bashir, the priest in charge of the church says, “Before being Muslim and Christian we are men, and this unites us in prayer.” He asserted that bearing this in mind, we can come closer to each other as we continue to pray together.

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Father Bashir who has been ministering in the church for 30 years, says,” In 1994, when our Muslim brothers were going to build the mosque next to the church, they asked us if we had any objections, we accepted their decision with enthusiasm.

We’ve changed our hours of morning prayer so that they do not have problems during the Namaz (morning prayer) he said while adding, “True humanity,” he continued, “is to serve man: before being Muslims and Christians we are all men and this brings us closer as we say our prayers together.”

On the other hand, the Imam of the mosque, Qari Zubair says, “We have changed prayer schedules so as not to disturb each other. We installed the speakers inside the mosque.” He further explained, “Both places of worship have set their times of prayer so that no one has problems. We have not installed the speakers on the roof of the mosque as usual, but we put them inside, so that our Christian brothers and sisters are not disturbed in their prayers.”

While remarking about the tremendous harmonization of the church and the mosque, the locals say that originally there was a space of about 100 meters in between the church and the mosque. However, after the extension in the mosque’ building the space in between vanished and the mosque drew near the church.

A 70-year-old, local Muslim Muhammad Rafique, noted, “ If someone were to ask me how is it that Muslims and Christians pray together, I would say that all the credit goes to the people of the city, from both communities, who have open hearts and want to stay away from any type of confrontation and controversy. In front of the two places of worship we have a park, where Christians from Muslims mingle in friendship.”