Followed by the terror strike at Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, on March 27, Easter day, Muslim clerics and Christian priests jointly held a prayer vigil for the victims of the attack.
The prayer vigil was held at Lahore’s Dominicans Peace Center, where leaders from Muslim and Christian communities gathered. The attendees unanimously declared, “This violence seeks to spark new sectarian clashes, but we can stop them. We are not afraid of them.”
The interfaith prayer vigil was attended by Christian priests, Nuns, Activists along with Muslim clerics. While addressing those gathered, Hafiz Muhammad Nauman from the World Council of Religions told the audience that “We always blame each her every time terror strikes the nation. Every Muslim who joins a terror group does not belong to our religion anymore. Terrorists are our common enemy; their religion is terrorism, not Islam. When they kill, they don’t draw a line between Christian and Muslim victims,” those assembled said.
All those who attended this vigil expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives. The speakers paid homage to the victims of the Gulshan-e-Iqbal park attack, where terrorists targeted Christians.
During the prayer vigil, passages from the Bible were recited, prayers were offered while the Muslim clerics recited verses from the Quraan. The prayer vigil was ended by lighting up candles as the attendees paid last respects to the victims. A professor who hailed from the Muslim community laid blame on ignorance and illiteracy for a rise in the extremism and fanaticism.
“We have nothing to say but broken words. If you can’t make this world heaven, there is no other. Religion is meant to be acted upon, not used for killing people. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and Islam also teaches brotherhood”, he said.
At this occasion, Father James Channan- Director of the Peace centre read out aloud the names of those who were killed as a result of the blast. He urged that compensation amounts be given to the victimized families. The church authorities claim that so far 17 out of the dead have been identified as Christians.
Father James further said, “The attack on Easter is a conspiracy to spark sectarian fighting in the country but the religious leaders are united against terrorism. It is time to step outside; interfaith rallies on the streets can discourage the militants. We are not afraid of them.”
Father James also appreciated the Islamic clerics for observing a Day of Prayer this coming Friday. The Muslim attendees announced a Day of Tolerance on Friday, April 8.