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
Muslim man burned alive by mob
Attacks for blasphemy violations spark fear of growing intoleranceProtesters demonstrate against religious violence in Lahore
- ucanews.com reporter, Chani Goth
- July 4, 2012
Ghulam Abbas was arrested this week but was dragged out of his cell yesterday by an angry mob and set on fire at a crossroads in Chani Goth in Punjab province.
Local media reports said eight police officers were injured and four police vehicles vandalized by the mob.
Father Samuel Raphael of St. Dominicâ€™s Church in Bahawalpur, 60 kilometers from Chani Goth, said the attack was a sign of growing lawlessness and religious intolerance that had many Christians in the area concerned for their safety.
â€śThis signifies an inhuman society that is growing intolerant at a dangerous pace. The controversial blasphemy laws were specifically designed to handle such issues, but people are now taking matters into their own hands,â€ť he said.
â€śSome say Abbas was mentally ill, but he never got a chance to prove his innocence,â€ť the priest added.
The day before the burning of Abbas, a mob beat another Muslim man in Faisalabad for allegedly uttering derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammad. Police eventually rescued the man, but the mob reportedly blocked a road and chanted for the death of the accused man.
Two Muslims and a Christian, all accused of blasphemy, have been killed this year, according to the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) within the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference of Pakistan, and 88 people including 64 Muslims and 17 Christians have been victimized by blasphemy laws from January last year through May 2012.
â€śPolice are becoming conscious of the misuse of these allegations, which are still a low priority for the government. The lives of human rights defenders are under threat due to increasingly aggressive attitudes,â€ť said Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the NCJP.
â€śThe chance is perhaps lost to form public opinion against blasphemy laws.â€ť
Book tackles thorny blasphemy issue