Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Archbishop warns of backlash over bin Laden
Christian minority a 'soft target' although terrorist's death could bring longer term benefitsA file picture of Osama bin Laden, killed today by US forces in Pakistan
- ucanews.com reporters, Lahore, New Delhi and Dhaka and Manila
- May 2, 2011
â€śWe are a soft target as they cannot attackÂ America. We demand security. The government should control any retaliation," Archbishop Emeritus of Lahore,Â Lawrence Saldanha said.
But despite the risk of short-term retaliation against Christians, bin Laden's killing could return balance to the war-torn society ofÂ Pakistan, he said.
He wasÂ hopeful that theÂ killing of worldâ€™s most wanted terrorist will reduce the militant radicalism that has engulfed Pakistan in recent years.
"At last we have hope that things will get better gradually," he said.
â€śMany looked on bin Laden as a hero of the Islamic revolution. But he was a role model of extremism and a threat to world peace. His death will change the complexion and decentralize as well as demystify extremism," the archbishop said.
US forces killedÂ Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda, in Abbottabad city in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after a brief firefight. US President Barrack Obama said the forces had been acting on intelligence originally received last August and had acted in co-operation with Pakistani security authorities.
Saudi Arabian-born Bin Laden ordered the September 11, 2001 attacks on theÂ United StatesÂ which killed more than 3,000 people.
SaldanhaÂ was ordained archbishop on the day of the attacks.
â€śThe post 9/11 events affected my whole episcopal career and life," he said, adding that the situation changed for Christians who were badly affected by violence and bloodshed. I saw it growing worse," he said.
Meanwhile in India, a Church leader prayed the Al Qaeda leaderâ€™s death would not lead to retaliatory attacks.
Father Babu Joseph, spokesperson of the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference of India, regretted that bin Laden had met a violent death.Â â€śThe Church never endorses violence or associates with violence. Violence perpetrated by religion is never acceptable to any civilized society.â€ť
Some Indian Muslims reacted to bin Laden's death by blaming the United States for his radicalization.
â€śOsama bin Laden and others felt the Central Intelligence Agency had used them for its personal interests. This led to World Trade Center bombings and wars in Iraq.â€ť J. S. Badukwala, an Islamic scholar in Gujarat, said.
The withdrawal of US and its allies from Afghanistan [after the defeat of the Soviet Union] made their supporters feel betrayed, he added.Â Â However, Muslims in India, unlike their counterparts elsewhere, were not influence by the Al Qaeda ideology, Badukwala said.
Muhammed shafi Madani, another Muslim leader in Gujarat, says Americans create "Osamas" whenever they want to serve their personal interests and he wants the world to understand â€śthe designs of the US.â€ť
The Islamist's death triggered mixed reactions among Christians and Muslims in Bangladesh.
â€śNo killing is welcomed. A criminal should be brought to trials and be duly prosecuted,"Â Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue Â chairman Bishop Bejoy Dâ€™Cruze of Khulna said.Â â€śI donâ€™t know if bin Laden or Al Qaeda had any connection with Bangladeshi militants or not. But itâ€™s sure they were encouraged and inspired by his activities, which will decline I believe.â€ť
Sujit Purification, 34, a Catholic NGO officer said, â€śIâ€™m glad that 9/11 mastermind is dead now, itâ€™s good news. No one can support the terrorist activities he committed.â€ť
Moni Haider, 47, a Muslim, said he believed Bangladeshi militants would be discouraged by bin Ladenâ€™s death. "They've got to realize that the bin Laden chapter is over even though he was such a powerful terrorist.â€ť
Shah Kawthar Mustafa Abululayee, 61, a Muslim and philosophy professor at Dhaka University, told ucanews.com.
â€ś[Bin] Ladenâ€™s death will surely affect national and international terrorism and militancy, but better to comment after couple of days I think. All the terrorist activities in the world should be stopped.â€ť
In the Philippines, Catholic Church leaders today advised the government to prepare for possible retaliation from bin Laden loyalists.
â€śHis followers in different places might retaliate because of what happened to him,â€ť said Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez.
Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez in a separate interview also echoed those fears of Iniguez.
â€śThe death of bin Laden is good [in the fight against terror]. But it is also bad because his loyalists will retaliate not only against the military and police but against innocent civilians,â€ť he said over Church-run Radio Veritas 846.
Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela prelature, meanwhile, said the terrorists' death was a "triumph of good over evil."
His prelature is in Basilan province where Al Qaeda-inspired Abu Sayyaf Islamic militant forces have camps and have frequently attacked attacking Christian communities.
Bishop Jumoad Â said he hopedÂ bin Ladenâ€™s death â€świll weaken the Abu Sayyaf Group here in Basilan because Abu Sayyaf leaders have been claiming they are being supported by Al-Qaeda through Jemaah Islamiyah.â€ť
However, he acknowledged retaliatory attacks might follow when the news of the killing spreads.