Bishop Speaks of Renewed Inter-Faith Hopes after Benazir Bhutto’s Death

January 4, 2008

Author: John Pontifex

Source: Aid to the Church in Need News

A PAKISTAN Bishop has spoken of how Christians and Muslims have come together in grief in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s killing, prompting renewed hopes for a Church increasingly threatened by religious intolerance.

Bishop Joseph Coutts described “unprecedented” levels of co-operation between the two religious groups, with joint prayer services honouring Mrs Bhutto taking place across his diocese of Faisalabad, in east Pakistan’s Punjab Province.

As a minority of barely three percent in a country increasingly dominated by extremist Muslims, Christians more than ever depend on good relations with their neighbours, especially during a period of worsening tension expected in the run-up to the elections, which were yesterday (2nd January) announced for February 18.

Speaking from Faisalabad in an interview with the charity Aid to the Church in Need, the bishop stressed the people’s profound shock following the assassination of the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, which he said had cut across the religious divide.

Bishop Coutts said: “People really felt Benazir Bhutto’s loss as a personal tragedy; the fact of her being a woman so brutally murdered. It created a lot of sympathy which was personal rather than to do with politics.”