02 March 2011

Methodist statement on the killing of Shahbaz Bhatti

Christine Elliott, Secretary for External Relationships for the Methodist Church in Britain, said: "The killing of Shahbaz Bhatti is deeply shocking. He is known to have understood the potential consequences for his stand on the interpretation of Pakistan's blasphemy law, but as minister for minorities he was clear that it was his obligation to promote tolerance, acceptance and justice for Pakistani citizens regardless of their religious affiliation.

"His assassination fuels fear of growing sectarian bigotry and violence, not just in Pakistan but worldwide.

"It is a cause for concern, not only because of its implications for the safety of religious minorities, but also because of the questions it raises about the will or the ability of the Government of Pakistan to defend the rights and freedoms of all its people.

"We urge the Government of Pakistan to do all in its power to bring the perpetrators of such violence to justice. It is profoundly important that we all work for a society in which respect is given and difference honoured, where people can be sure of their security.

"Meanwhile we assure the family, friends and supporters of Mr. Bhatti of our deep sympathy, praying with them in their personal distress. We continue to support all those working for justice and stability in Pakistan, whatever their faith. The Methodist Church wishes to express its admiration for those who continue to avoid the sin of silence in the face of such atrocities and urges prayer for the government and people of Pakistan." 

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