By Aftab Alexander Mughal
Christian leaders strongly condemned the demand to ban the Holy Bible by a radical Islamic party Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (Samiul Haq Group). The party has launched a campaign asking to ban the circulation of the Bible, described as a “pornographic” and “blasphemous book.”
Church of Pakistan Bishop Dr. Alexander John Malik of Lahore strongly reacted in a press statement to the demand and said that agreeing to such a demand would be interfering in the religious matters of the Christian religion and violation of religious freedom fully guaranteed by the constitution. According to The News, the Bishop further said that the demand is sowing seeds of discord among different communities.
During a press conference in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan, on May 30, Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi and other clerics of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam quoted “immoral Biblical stories” and demanded to ban the Bible. Maulana Farooqi said, “Our lawyers are preparing to ask the court to ban the book.”
Bruce Bhatti, a Christian human rights activist from Lahore, told Minorities Concern of Pakistan, “It is a dangerous move, and this demand is based on hate. It is totally against the human values and will further promote religious intolerance in the country where Christians have been persecuted because of their faith.”
Catholic priest Father James Channan OP, regional coordinator for the United Religious Initiative, termed the clerics’ demand a “strong blow to Christians” in the country. According to the UCA News, the priest said, “It’s a degrading move. We shall defend our manual for life at every level. The supreme court cannot head to such madness.”
Pakistan is an Islamic country where religious minorities make up 3 % (Christians are about 1.5 %) of the total population of the country.
Report by Aftab Alexander Mughal, Editor, Minorities Concern of Pakistan
June 5, 2011