Monday, September 13, 2010

Christian buildings burnt by Muslims in India, in response to allegations of Qur'an burnings in the USA

Quote noted by Marc Aupiais

India has huge problems with religious tolerance, with violence routine in many parts of the country, and a history of serious religious persecution. The Christian and Muslim communities in particular have been subjected to violence by the Hindu majorities. It is much more likely that these given recent burnings, are in order to affect governance by politicians, than being actually aimed at Christian religious beliefs, or that they are as claimed: responses to Qur'an / "Koran" burnings:

"New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Muslim extremists set fire to a Church and to a Christian school in Punjab in reaction to the proposed Qur‘an burning by Rev Terry Jones, a US clergyman, in order to commemorate 9/1, an action he later abandoned but still caused protests among Muslims and anti-Christian violence. In India, the latter have taken a distinctly political and separatist tone. The resulting incidents with police left 11 people dead.
The Christian Society Mission School was set on fire this morning in Tangmarg, near Gulmarg. Rumours had already spread that it might be targeted but the authorities ignored them. When fire fighters tried to the wood-made church, they were stopped by a mob. The entire building burnt to the ground but students were not hurt.

However, this was not the only act of violence. Demonstrators also stormed a government building and clashed with police. Seven people were killed, including a police officer. Four more people died in earlier protests.

“The [church] fire was fuelled by both rumours of an alleged burning of the Qur‘an and the political situation” in the state, Mgr Peter Celestine, bishop of Jammu-Srinagar, told AsiaNews. “Witnesses said that hundreds of people were on streets yesterday night.” From there, they “barged into the school building and set it ablaze. Curfew has been imposed.”

Anti-government Islamic protests are commonplace in the state. At least 70 demonstrators have been killed by police in the past three months. The ‘Burn-the-Qur‘an’ issue was just a pretext to vent anti-government feelings.

“The proposal to burn the Qur‘an’, even though it was abandoned, created a very tense situation. Fear and anxiety are widespread. Christians constitute only 0.0014 per cent of the population. So far, we have had cordial relations with our Muslim brothers and the authorities, but this initiative is cause for concern,” the bishop said."
AsiaNews (Italian Based; Catholic and Human special interests coverage; independent of the Italian state; sometimes linked to the Vatican by observers)
13 / 09 | September / 2010: "Christian church and school set on fire in Punjab because of the ‘Burn-the-Qur‘an’ proposal"

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