Comments: Anglican church in Peshawar is attacked by terrorists

Kyrie eleison.

Anglicans around the world should come together to support/rebuild this church.

Posted by JCF at Monday, 23 September 2013 at 9:50am BST

Michael Nazir-Ali was interviewed on Radio 4 this morning and suggested it was time that the international community came together to protect religious minorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Syria and Irak, just as it had done during the Balkans conflict.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 23 September 2013 at 10:47am BST

Many thanks, Simon, for putting these series of links up on Thinking Anglicans.

Al Jazeera has just reported Pakistani Christians' protests today:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2013/09/201392391826858810.html

Posted by Graham Kings at Monday, 23 September 2013 at 12:04pm BST

Humanity reaches for the stars while our feet are hopelessly, intractably stuck in the mud of ignorance, bigotry, intolerance.
Religions teach the kinship of all humanity -- while at the same time all too often preaching "except for 'those' people!"

Kyrie eleison, indeed.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Monday, 23 September 2013 at 4:32pm BST

Remarkably, I've known 2 people from Peshawar in the course of my life, and one of them was a Christian (who I knew briefly as a coworker, a muralist and sign painter who specialized in movie ads in Pakistan; since imagery was forbidden to Muslims, most of the sign painters were Christian).
Christians are a very small minority in that city who lived peaceably with their Muslim neighbors for centuries.

My prayers for that small and now bereaved community.

Posted by FD Blanchard at Monday, 23 September 2013 at 6:14pm BST

I wonder if we can put 2 and 2 together to make 4.

America has been attacking Pakistan for years with drones and killing huge numbers of civilians. At the last count US drones have killed about 170 children, more than twice as many as the total death count in this bombing.

America is a Christian Country.

Pakistan militants want to get back at the Christians, and do this sort of thing.

I am not condoning the bombing, but trying to understand it.

I think there is a parable somewhere about motes and beams. I don't think you can condemn this bombing, and fail to condemn the much larger death toll from the US drone campaign, or not make the link between them.

Have a look at the following. A list of attacks on a country with which the US is not at war, and wonder why Christians might be unpopular and at risk in Pakistan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_drone_strikes_in_Pakistan

Simon

Posted by Simon Dawson at Monday, 23 September 2013 at 9:05pm BST

" I don't think you can condemn this bombing, and fail to condemn the much larger death toll from the US drone campaign, or not make the link between them."

If it is OK for Pakistani Muslims to bomb Christian churches in response to US drone attacks, would you have been so sanguine had mosques in the USA been targeted in the aftermath on 9/11? Do you think that British citizens visiting Japan should shoot a few civilians in reprisal for the Burma Railroad? We had a German exchange student staying last week: should I have talked more about the Blitz?

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. The endless "if you condemn this, you must condemn that" goes on forever.

This is just whataboutery. Do you seriously believe that violence towards religious minorities started in Muslim countries solely as a response to the "war on terror"?

Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 8:00am BST

Simon, I think I understand the feeling, but there simply is no equivalence here. Drone attacks are directed at fighters with the agreement of a legitimately constituted army, even if the strikes sometimes fail (and I'm not saying I'm in favour) because these guys don't play by the normal rules of armed engagement. Those who blew up the church (and more often than not methodically kill innocent Muslim civilians too) deliberately target innocent civilians in huge numbers. Stop reading the Guardian.

Posted by Lorenzo at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 9:01am BST

Lorenzo.

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist" Dom Helder Camara - liberation theologian.

"When I pray for the persecuted Christians they support me. When I ask why the Christians are being persecuted they call me a Guardian Reader." Simon Dawson

I am proud to be a Guardian Reader, they have quite a few successes (Jonathan Aitken, BAE bribery and corruption, phone hacking, and now the GCHQ story) but I also read a wide range of other papers. Try this Daily Telegraph article and interview, where it says

"The situation in Iraq is “considerably different” to other countries in the region because there Christians are not targeted “in any way” by the government. Instead, the biggest threat comes from al-Qaeda. In the aftermath of the Anglo-US invasion of Iraq 10 years ago Christians were targeted as an alien minority, accused of being in league with the West."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10264499/The-almost-unremarked-tragedy-of-Christians-persecuted-in-the-Middle-East.html

Best wishes

Simon

Posted by Simon Dawson at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 6:24pm BST

I truly believe Simon is accurate.

Whatever the rationale of the drone attacks, good or bad, it necessarily has repercussions. All actions have consequences, and it is not helpful for us to rationalize away differences between a drone attack and a church bombing. Of course there are differences. If I spit into a strong wind, spit and wind are two very different things, but I will get spit in my face - unless I'm very quick. Even when/if we are justified in making war, there will always be negative consequences. We cannot shirk our responsibility when they come.

For disclosure purposes, I am an American.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 4:50am BST

I don't hold a brief for the drone strikes at all. Their legality - and their effectiveness - are highly questionable. But I am with Interested Observer on this. Acknowledging a link between drone strikes and this bombing is very much like seeing attacks on Muslims and mosques in the UK in the aftermath of the murder of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich, as a predictable response.

What is more important is the status of Pakistani Christians. They have been a loyal and integral community in that country from the start. Many of the Pakistani Air Force heroes of the wars against India, were Christian.

Now they suffer marginalisation and persecution in that country. They are frequently victimised by dubious allegations under draconian 'blasphemy laws'. This has all been going on long before drone strikes.

Another religious minority, the Ahmadis, also suffer this sort of treatment in Pakistan - including attacks on their places of worship (they are not allowed to call them mosques). Maybe by some process of convoluted reasoning they too are seen as responsible for drone strikes.

Let's call evil what it is and stop making excuses for it.

For the purposes of disclosure, I am British.

Posted by Sam Roberts at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 7:43am BST

Sam,

Evil is evil. No one is making excuses. It is also an effect of a cause. What you argue is, I believe, tangential to what I am saying.

I know nothing about the murder of this Rigby person and nothing about the mosque attacks, so I don't know.

However, evil can also be a compounded evil. Evil can - and most frequently is - the effect of evil. No one accuses the churches for having been attacked. No one (here) is questioning their loyalty to Pakistan.

I don't see any convoluted reasoning, here - we like to present ourselves, in the West, as Christian. The natural, convenient outlet for outrage at the West would be the nearest community with identifying Western characteristics, which, as you've pointed out by showing how very Pakistani they are in other ways, would boil down to Christian.

To take what I've said as a condoning or excusing of the evil of the bombings is, I think, an unconsidered response. Rather, I am asserting that we all have a responsibility. Now, it is very popular for us, particularly in the U. S. and U. K., to say we have no responsibility for any but our direct actions, yet that isn't a tenable position. It isn't adult. It isn't reasonable. It amounts to doing something violent to someone, seeing them doing something violent to another, and responding, "YOU! Stop being evil!" If you observed this from outside, you would laugh at the open hypocrisy.

My point is that we should stop making excuses and realize how incredibly participatory and accumulative evil is. To do other is to refuse our responsibility in bringing an end to that evil.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 9:19am BST

I sometimes read the Guardian too, that was tongue in cheek, but I still think that if we allow ourselves to believe that without drone strikes Islamist would not target Christian or Jewish minorities, we delude ourselves: Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia... the list is very long.

Posted by Lorenzo at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 1:35pm BST
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