LAHORE: Dialogue with Muslims is unavoidable to bring about changes in the blasphemy laws.
According to details, Father James Channan- Director of the “Peace Centre” has expressed an urgent need of dialogue with Muslims in order to bring necessary changes in the blasphemy laws.
“Christians in Pakistan are suffering because of the abuse of the blasphemy law. Also, when a Christian is accused, the entire community suffers serious consequences”: says Father James Channan. For years, Father Channan has been actively engaged in activities to promote inter-religious dialogue.
Father Channan sights dialogue as a means of expand the viewpoint on the case of Asia Bibi and all other Pakistani citizens who suffer from the blasphemy laws though may be Christians or Muslims.
Father Channan further explains: “Christian minorities, such as Hindus and members of other minority faiths in Pakistan are often subject to discrimination and persecution. Being a non-Muslim in Pakistan is sometimes dangerous, especially because of the blasphemy laws”.
In order to respond to this situation, Father Channan has toiled for years to widen smooth relations with the most important imams in Lahore. He has been successful in doing so, main exemplar being his evident relations with one of the prominent imams Abdul Khabir Azad who is the Imam of the royal Mosque in Lahore, which is the largest in Pakistan.
It is because of their levelled relations that both the leaders have been working as one to resolve situations of tension between Christians and Muslims. They are following up the incidents of mob attack on the Christians in “Joseph Colony” area and, recent attack against the Christian community in the district of Sanda. In both case blasphemy accusations incited violence against Christians.
Father Chanan states, “Sharing a similar viewpoint, Imam Abdul Khabir Azad agrees on necessary changes to the blasphemy law to prevent its abuse as a means of settling private disputes.”
“For this very reason, an active Islamic-Christian dialogue is invaluable and necessary to advance ideas and actions designed to enhance inter- religious harmony and to build broad consensus to reform the blasphemy law,” he concluded.