04 April 2011
His Excellency, Asif Ali Zardari
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
We bring you greetings and blessings from the General Committee of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), a regional ecumenical organization representing a 100 member churches and 16 National Councils of Churches in 22 Asian countries.
We were shocked and deeply saddened by the assassination of Mr. Shabhaz Bhatti, Minister for Minority Affairs and the only Christian Member of Parliament in the Pakistan Government.
CCA has also received information regarding the killing of two and wounding of Christians after Muslim youths allegedly attacked them outside a church building in Hyderabad last 22 March 2011.
In the past, through the media we have been informed of killings of civilians based on false accusations of desecrating the Qur’an, with the perpetrators using the Blasphemy Laws as justification for the killings.
CCA joins the call from the international community for an urgent and impartial investigation of the case and to bring the perpetrators to justice. We would also like to see more control of the misuse of the Blasphemy Law as justification for such criminal act.
CCA as an ecumenical family in Asia also denounces and condemns the burning a copy of the Holy Qur’an in the United States on March 20, 2011, overseen by Florida pastor Terry Jones. Such act is unbecoming for one who professes love and respect for neighbors. We reiterate here what we said in our statement on the burning of the Qur’an issued in September 2010, stating that
“As a Christian regional organization, CCA exists to promote unity, CCA holds on to the fundamental belief that each faith has gifts to share for our mutual enrichment. Through the years CCA has done its share to be a venue for the discovery and sharing of those gifts and by promoting dialogue and collaboration in addressing the issues that concern people in Asia regardless of the religious faith they hold.”
The churches in Asia offer our prayers and solidarity along with our ecumenical accompaniment of both Muslims and non-Muslims in Pakistan, who have all been rendered victims by a culture of impunity. We enjoin all our Member Churches and Councils in Asia to actively advocate for the rights of minority groups to be respected and protected in Pakistan.
REV. DR. HENRIETTE HUTABARAT LEBANG