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
Shias demand right to religious freedom
Communities say the state has not done enough to protect against targeted violence
- ucanews.com reporter, Quetta
- July 19, 2012
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority blocked the Pakshia website, which posts news, Twitter feeds and sends out SMS messages on sectarian violence and extrajudicial killings in the country, on July 14 charging that it was posting â€śobjectionable material.â€ť
Shia Muslims protested the action earlier this week in Karachi, during which four protesters were injured during clashes with police.
In a posting on their website, Pakshia said Shias have been targets for several extremist groups and the web service provided an important forum for peaceful purposes.
â€śFor many years extremist groups [and] banned terrorist organizations like the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and others have targeted Shiâ€™ite Muslims.â€ť
The post added: â€śThe Shia Killing page is just a messenger for a peaceful voice against oppression of Shiâ€™ite Muslims in Pakistan and this is our moral right,â€ť referring to a section of the site that chronicles violence against Shia Muslims.
Aftab, a Shia leader from the Hazara community in Quetta, said the federal government clamped down on the website to save its image.
â€śWe are not grateful for their favor [in unblocking the site] because it was a sheer violation of our fundamental right of speech and expression. They are not doing anything about the [violence against] our community members and itâ€™s criminal negligence,â€ť he said.
â€śThe failed government is pushing the country to annihilation.â€ť
Aftab further condemned the latest act of violence against the community, a bomb attack on a minivan yesterday in Sepoy village that killed 14 Shia passengers including three children.
Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, calling Shias enemies of Islam.
Some 64 Shias have been killed in terrorist attacks since last month, community leaders have said.
Shia Muslims account for 25 percent of Pakistanâ€™s more than 170 million population.
Allama Syed Sabtain Alhusaini, head of an imambargah (a congregation hall for Shia ceremonies) in Gujranwala in Punjab province, blamed foreign agencies for what he called the organized massacre of his community.
â€śTerrorists have deepened their networks and the government, though willing to fight them, is helpless. However, the government should safeguard our religious freedom as a moral and constitutional obligation.â€ť
Bishops condemn blasts in Shia processions