Welby joins calls for protection of Pakistan’s Christians

Posted May 29, 2014

[Lambeth Palace] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said the Christians of Pakistan are a people under siege and joined calls for their churches to be protected and for them to be able to worship in safety.

“Freedom of worship is a universal human right around the world, and all countries need to pay attention to that,” he said.

Meanwhile, condemning the “revolting lynching” of a pregnant Pakistani woman who was stoned to death by her family in front of hundreds of people outside the Lahore high court, the Archbishop told the Times: “I was utterly horrified and every Pakistani I have spoken to is also horrified. It (the stoning) was in no sense a punishment, but but a revolting lynching.”

Archbishop Justin was speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Pakistan’s Anglicans leaders in the eastern city of Lahore, during which he heard of the persecution and daily threats Christians face from Islamist militants.

Pakistan is home to 3.6 million Christians – about two percent of the population – who have been targeted by the misuse of draconian blasphemy laws.

Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan and cases against both religious minorities and Muslims are rising.

The Archbishop added his voice to the plea for an immediate change in laws that have also been misused to target Muslims by those with a vendetta against their neighbors.

“I pray for their blessing and for the government to be favorable to seeing that this is not a group that are seeking undue advantage but are only seeking to do good,” he said during a press conference.

Archbishop Justin, accompanied by his wife Caroline, was visiting Pakistan at the invitation of its Anglican primate, the Most Revd Samuel Robert Azariah, Bishop of Raiwind and Moderator of the Church of Pakistan.

During the visit Archbishop Justin met with Christian and Muslim leaders, attended a special service at Lahore’s Cathedral of the Resurrection, and met with high school students.

The visit is the first leg of a week-long visit by Archbishop Justin to fellow Anglican primates in the region. Today the Archbishop arrived in Bangladesh, after which he will travel to India.

Archbishop Justin’s visit to the region forms part of his plan to visit all of his fellow archbishops (also known as ‘primates’) during his first 18 months in office. His desire is to express solidarity, build personal and professional bonds, understand the primates’ work in their local contexts, and lay foundations for good collaboration over the coming years.

See photos from Archbishop Justin’s previous primates visits on Flickr


Comments (1)

  1. Erna Lund says:

    Thank you Archbishop Welby for your Call for Protection of Children of Pakistan–and indeed for All children around the world–Suffer the little children, as our Dear Lord Jesus repeatedly declared–Matthew 19:14, Mark 10;14, Luke 18:16 … “Suffer” clearly indicated “Allow the children to come to me for of such is the kingdom of God”– Not to be hurt,exploited … yet there is no earthly power(U.S.,European countries…) or religious institution who are taking action for the brutal treatment, specifically Palestinian children in Gaza–the laboratory where Israel Military has and can arbitrarly kill, maim, destroy the children and their families with the most sophisticated weaponry provided by the U.S. government! This must STOP–Please take the lead in enjoining all clergy, governments… to save and protect our Children everywhere.

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