Editorial - Blasphemy abroad - Sunday, March 27, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=38417&Cat=8

The senseless act of desecrating the Holy Quran committed by Pastor Terry Jones in Florida has, predictably enough, triggered protests across the country. Rallies and marches have been held in towns and cities everywhere, with the incident adding to the anger against the US and to the hatred that so many feel for the country. The distinction between the act of an individual and a nation is hazy in the minds of many, especially when the issue of drone attacks continues and there is a strong sense that Washington determines far too much about policies in the country and the decisions taken by our government. In such an environment, it is easy to whip up passions and there are many forces which specialise in doing just that.

But it is encouraging to see that the protests have not been staged by extremist groups alone. In many places, members of the Christian community have joined in with them to condemn the incident. Leaders of the community have spoken out against the action and some have planned protests of various kinds. The contrast with what happened when former minister Shahbaz Bhatti was shot dead in Islamabad is quite dramatic. Only a few human rights activists joined the stricken Christian community in staging a protest of any kind at the time. The greater generosity of spirit is striking. Their conduct offers a lesson to all of us and is a reminder of just how much we need some sense of harmony. We hope this lesson has been learned by many. Hurting the religious sentiments of any group is simply unacceptable. The conduct of the pastor in the US needs to be strongly condemned - just as the acts of extremism at home need also to be condemned.

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