(London Times) Rowan Williams on Pakistan: A truly Islamic state would protect Christians

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The protection of minorities of any and every kind is one acid test of moral legitimacy for a government; and such protection is built into Pakistan’s modern identity as an Islamic state with civic recognition for non-Muslims. Many are anxious about Pakistan’s future for strategic reasons. But those of us who love Pakistan and its people are anxious for its soul as well as its political stability. It is heartbreaking to see those we count as friends living with the threat of being coerced and menaced into silence and, ultimately, into a betrayal of themselves. This must not be allowed to happen. They need to know of the support of Christians and others outside Pakistan for their historic and distinctive vision.

Shahbaz Bhatti died, for all practical purposes, as a martyr — let me be clear — not simply for his Christian faith, but for a vision shared between Pakistani Christians and Muslims. When he and I talked at Lambeth Palace last year, he was fully aware of the risks he ran. He did not allow himself to be diverted for a moment from his commitment to justice for all.

That a person of such courage and steadfastness of purpose was nourished in the political culture of Pakistan is itself a witness to the capacity of that culture to keep its vision alive and compelling. And that is one of the few real marks of hope in a situation of deepening tragedy that urgently needs both prayer and action.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

4 Comments
Posted March 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. robroy wrote:

A truly Islamic state also kills Muslims converts to Christianity, kills Christians who evangelize Muslims, kills Christians for saying anything bad about Muhammad, doesn’t allow new churches to be built or repairs be made to existing ones that are falling down.

March 7, 1:32 am | [comment link]
2. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

Sure. and true communism has never been tried; It would work wonderfully if we gave it a chance. It’s all our fault for resisting it. Where have I heard this drive before?

March 7, 10:22 am | [comment link]
3. Cennydd13 wrote:

I wonder what kind of Kool Aid he’s been drinking?  What’s it laced with?  ++Rowan, read the history of Islam!

March 7, 6:58 pm | [comment link]
4. Alta Californian wrote:

I’m increasingly coming to believe that the Islamic world is no more cohesive and uniform than Christendom.  Islamic history contains both incidents of violent cultural genocide (many examples) and warm multicultural tolerance (fewer examples, but they do exist, such as certain periods in Spain).  It depends on the location and the time period.  The Qu’ran itself seems to contain both exhortations to respect other “people of the book” (i.e. Abrahamic faiths) and various teachings about jihad.  The average peacable Muslim can no more be tarred with the actions of terrorists than the average Anglican can be charged with being a Westboro Baptist.  Yes they should bear a greater burden to denounce violent terrorism, just as I have felt the burden to publicly refute Harold Camping for damaging the credibility of the Church with his May 21 nonsense.  There is a gentler side of Islam that the Archbishop can appeal to if he so wishes.  The trouble is that the people he is speaking to and about really have no reason to care what he says.  I’m an Anglican, and I don’t even care what he says.

March 7, 10:18 pm | [comment link]
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