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Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - "The news, continually increasing, regarding violence against Christian children are really annoying, disturbing. For Christians, it seems that living in Pakistan is more and more difficult. There are many Christian girls kidnapped, raped and converted to Islam by force and even killed as in the case of Amariah Masih, the 'Maria Goretti of Pakistan'. There are children kidnapped and killed for shady dealings, as the recent case of Sunil Masih or Shazia Bashir. Now the children are also accused of blasphemy, as Rimsha Masih. If children are attacked, it means that a limit of intolerable abuse and inhumanity have been reached": This is what the Dominican Fr. James Channan, OP, Director of "Peace Center" in Lahore, strongly committed to interreligious dialogue says to Fides.

After the case of Rimsha, the Director, for years at the head of the Commission for Dialogue of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, puts the spotlight on the law of blasphemy: "This controversial law, for which so much blood has been spilled in Pakistan, continues to be a tool to persecute Christians, Hindus, but also Muslims. It is an unjust and ambiguous law. As Christians, we have been asking to repeal or modify it for such a long time in order to reduce the abuses. And in this battle there are many organizations for human rights established by Muslim citizens beside us."

Christians in Pakistan have launched an appeal: "We call on the government to forcefully take responsibility, to ensure respect for human dignity and basic rights of all citizens, whatever creed they profess. I think international awareness is also necessary: we ask, therefore, a special mission on behalf of the UN Special Raporter for religious freedom." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 24/08/2012)

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