Just to put things in context, Rehman Malik is the same official who, just this past January, ordered the blocking of “un-Islamic” websites and text messages. He’s also the one who said he would shoot a person who committed blasphemy against Islam in his presence. But no, Interpol, so long as it is not concerned with enforcing Sharia, still has more pressing matters to deal with. Like counterterrorism — something Pakistan’s ongoing duplicity and selective enforcement have allowed to grow into a monster that threatens the long-term existence of the country. Priorities.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – The Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik – on the recommendation of President Asi Ali Zardari – has sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and the Secretary General of Interpol Ronald Nobel, in which calls on them to condemn the burning of the Koran and take action against the instigator, the American pastor Terry Jones. The Senate in Islamabad has also intervened on the episode, unanimously passing a resolution urging the U.S. to bring the controversial preacher to justice.
The mad act of Pastor Wayne Sapp, who last March 20 in Florida burned a Koran under the supervision of the evangelical preacher Terry Jones, has sparked controversy and violence. The initiative has been repeatedly strongly condemned by Christian leaders in Pakistan and India, defined as “an insane and disrespectful act” by a U.S. citizen that has nothing to do with the Christians of Pakistan. However, the burning of the Koran has sparked the reaction of Islamic fundamentalists who, in the space of a few days, have attacked three churches and killed two people, fueling the climate of fear and distrust within the Christian community.
What easily gets lost in this discussion is that offended Muslims do have the free will to control themselves if they so choose. It is telling how, in so many reports, the automatic, violent exercise of Muslim outrage is taken for granted, as though Jones and Sapp went out into the woods and poked a beehive with a stick.
And again, the intensity of attacks and ease of organization of this latest anti-Christian violence point to a rampage waiting for one pretext or another. In connecting their acts with the Qur’an burning, the attackers are seeking sympathy and a free hand to act as they please.
The letter addressed to the head of Interpol, explains Rehman Malik, demands that the matter be treated as a case of “violent crime” and that urgent measures be taken for the future, to ensure such episodes are not repeated. The resolution adopted unanimously by the Senate, as well as requiring urgent action against the pastor Terry Jones, calls on all Muslim countries to express their indignation against the United States and the United Nations to register a “shameful act” towards Islam.
The interior minister also condemns attacks on churches and the burning of some copies of the Bible, the work of Islamic fundamentalists. Malik explains that he has instructed security forces to investigate the matter and take “appropriate measures” to “safeguard the rights of minorities, their properties and sacred places.”
In recent days, the Christian community has repeatedly emphasised that there are no ties between the United States, Pastor Terry Jones and Pakistani Christians, who “were born and belong only to the motherland.” Bishop Anthony Rufin of Islamabad / Rawalpindi, has repeatedly reiterated that “we should not be equated to the Americans.” Fr. Anwar Patras, a Catholic priest, has added that the Christian community, first of all, belongs to Pakistan: “We were born in this land and we will be buried here, we have no connection with Pastor Terry Jones and his sick ideas.”