Karachi's Archbishop Condemns Attack on Mosque

Assails Loss of Life and Dishonoring of a Place of Worship

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KARACHI, Pakistan, JUNE 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Karachi condemned the suicide attack carried out Monday on the Shiite Madina-tul-Ilm mosque, in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighborhood of this port city.

The act was carried out by three armed men who entered the building. One of them blew himself up, killing five people and seriously wounding another 18.

«It is not only the loss of life and the destruction of property [that hurts], but also how a place of worship has been dishonored,» Archbishop Evarist Pinto told the AsiaNews agency.

News of the attack on the mosque shocked the city. Many took to the streets and some attacked and set on fire a nearby fast-food restaurant of the U.S.-based KFC Corporation. Six employees of the restaurant were burned to death.

AsiaNews reported that local sources believe that the mosque attack was in response to the murder of Aslam Mujahid, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a party in the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, a coalition of Islamic parties. His bullet-riddled body was found in his car in the Korangi-Landhi area of Karachi a few hours before the suicide bombing.

Shiite-Sunni link

Investigators are linking the mosque attack to the internal divisions and hatreds between Shiites and Sunnis in Pakistan.

There is growing concern among the country’s Christian minority. Christian leaders have called on the government to take stronger measures to protect citizens of all religions.

On May 27, on the outskirts of Islamabad, an alleged suicide attack left 18 people dead near the Muslim shrine of Bari Imam, where thousands of Shiite and Sunni Muslims had gathered in homage to the city’s patron.

About three-quarters of Pakistan’s population of 155 million are Sunni Muslims; 20% are Shiites. Christians represent 2.5%; of these, some 1.2 million are Catholics.

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