The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

Pakistan

Group seeks crackdown against Pakistan temple opponents

Interfaith organization writes open letter to prime minister amid fierce opposition to Hindu temple in Islamabad

Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Group seeks crackdown against Pakistan temple opponents

Muslim activists protest against the building of a Hindu temple in Islamabad on July 12. (Photo: Arif Ali/AFP)

Share this article :
A prominent group promoting interfaith harmony in Pakistan has urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to crack down on hate speech and provocative statements targeting the country’s Hindu and other non-Muslim communities.

The call comes amid fierce Muslim opposition to the building of what would be the first-ever Hindu temple in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.

“On behalf of my fellow Pakistanis who believe in respecting religious diversity and pluralism and all those who believe in the vision of Pakistan’s founder Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, I would like to draw your attention towards a series of incidents and trends of hate speech, instigation and provocation against Hindus and other religious minorities in connection with the construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad,” wrote Samson Salamat, chairman of the inter-religious tolerance movement Rawadari Tehreek in an open letter to Khan.

The letter came amid stiff opposition being faced by Hindu parliamentarians wanting to construct Islamabad’s first-ever Hindu temple.

The government, which initially approved a financial grant for the temple, later withdrew it following a backlash from Muslim hardliners and opposition parties. The Religious Affairs Ministry has now referred the matter to an official body of Islamic clerics to give its opinion.

“Social media is full of hate speech and abusive language against our Hindu brothers and sisters who are citizens of Pakistan. Hindus and other citizens belonging to religious minorities are sons and daughters of the soil and haven’t migrated to Pakistan from another country. The initiative of Pakistani Hindus is wrongly being linked to India,” the letter said.  

“Sadly, some Madrassas and renowned political figures have also issued fatwas and provocative statements against building the temple which is a right of the Hindu minority guaranteed in the Constitutions of Pakistan,” Samson said in the letter.

“Extremists have visited the temple site and made hateful and provocative videos, statements and have destroyed the foundations which were laid few weeks ago.

Samson wanted the government "immediately act against hateful material and statements.”

The inter-faith group also sought action against a Muslim cleric who called for all the expulsion of all Christians from Pakistan.

In a recent video sermon, Qari Mahmood Qadri, a cleric from Gujarat district, told his supporters that that he can't stand the sight of a Christian Church.

“Christians should not be in Pakistan's parliament or government departments. Christians shouldn't have property or churches and they shouldn't even be in Pakistan. Those living in the country must be kicked out as they are the worst people in the world,” Qadri said.

Samson said Christians were Pakistani like everyone else.

“I want to tell this cleric that Pakistan belongs to all be it Christians or Hindus or Muslims. It doesn’t belong to any single faith or community,” he said. 

Support UCA News...

UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.

UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.

Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.

As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.

UCA News Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution