“We want justice and security for our priests and our faithful. We hope that the government will find a peaceful solution and that our people can live free from tensions. “ This is the appeal that Msgr. Bejoy N. D’Cruze OMI, Bishop of Syleht, launches through AsiaNews after the recent attacks against the tribal Khasia living in his diocese. “They are a very peaceful community – the prelate said – but often fall victims of the Bengali majority “.
April 6 last, Syed Ara Begum, a Muslim owner of a tea plantation, along with at least 35 people attacked the Khasia village that falls under the jurisdiction of the parish of Sreemongal (Moulovobazar district). The population – all Catholic – was celebrating Mass for Easter Monday. Hearing the cries, the pastor Fr. James Kiron Rozario CSC ran to the site to save them. The crowd of Muslims, however, attacked him with a knife, seriously wounding him and threatening to kill him.
After assaulting the faithful, the group stole items worth 33,900 taka (4,134 EUR); destroyed Bibles, crosses, holy pictures, musical instruments and homes; killed goats and chickens.
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Muslim Hardline’ Gunmen Open Fire on Catholic School in Pakistan; Injured Christian Student Taken to Hospital
wo masked gunmen on motorcycles, believed to be Muslim, open fired on the campus of a Pakistani Catholic school in Lahore Friday morning, injuring one Christian student and two security guards.
The two gunmen began firing at the campus of St. Franciscan High School in the Behar colony of Lahore, the second largest Christian residential area in Pakistan, around 10:30 a.m. The masked perpetrators were able to race away on their motorcycles and were not identified.
Police have begun an investigation into the attack on the school, according to prominent Pakistani human rights attorney Sardar Mushtaq Gill, who told The Christian Post that the school shooting is yet another attack on the Lahore Christian community following the Youhanabad lynchings of two Muslims thought to be involved in the mid-march Taliban bombings of two Christian churches.
“They were [two] masked men, armed on motorcycles. They were masked with their faces covered,” Gill explained. “It was in front of school. When they started firing, the guard intercepted. After making them injured, they fled away.”
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The ruins of Nineveh, once the biggest city in the world, lie beside the river Tigris. On the other side of the river stands Mosul, a city of a million, the largest place still under the rule of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil). A decade ago, 35,000 Christians lived in the city; last year there were 3,000; the day Isil took over all were either killed or fled.
I will not give a catalogue of the horrors in Iraq and Syria, but it is worth realising what is being lost with the death and exile of Christians there and the destruction of their churches and libraries.
When the prophet Jonah was sent to preach to the people of Nineveh, they repented and God did not visit on them the destruction that Jonah had announced. This “displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry”. Then slowly he learnt his lesson of forgiveness.
At his reputed tomb, a Christian church was built, later turned into a mosque. Pilgrims went there. One of Isil’s first acts was to destroy it. Given Isil’s beliefs, it is not surprising that they smash up tombs and images. God forgive them, it was not the worst thing they did.
The Christians of Iraq and Syria are no interlopers. They have been there from the beginning. They use Syriac in their worship, a language resembling the Aramaic that Jesus spoke.
They taught us. Before and after the Muslim conquest of their lands, Syriac-speaking Christians translated Greek works into their own language. When the West rediscovered Aristotle, it was largely thanks to Syriac scholars that copies of his works had been preserved. In the late eighth century, for example, when the Nestorian Patriarch Timothy wanted to study Aristotle, he borrowed manuscripts of the Organon and Topics from the Orthodox (Antiochian) monastery of Mar Mattai near Mosul, which was already over 400 years old. Mar Mattai monastery was taken by Isil last year and its monks expelled; some manuscripts are said to have been saved.
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