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Pakistan: faith growing stronger, not weaker, following terrorist attack on church

Catholic World News - October 11, 2013

The September 22 bombing of an Anglican church in Peshawar, a city of 3.6 million in northern Pakistan, has strengthened the faith of the nation’s Christians, according to a prominent Pakistani priest.

“That attack in the church, against innocent people who were just praying, has had an opposite effect: people flock to the churches more than before; there is no fear, but there is the strong conviction that we should be closer to Christ, the way, truth and life,” Father Bonnie Mendes said in an interview with the Fides news agency.

“Christians lived days of mourning, and they protested loudly across the country,” he continued. “They also prayed in an ecumenical manner, with the presence of other civil society organizations and many Muslim leaders.”

Rejecting a “persecution vision,” Father Mendes said that

as Christians we are not being targeted more today than in the past. Terrorism strikes all: the Shiites, the army, the Ahmadis, the police, moderate Muslim intellectuals. There is no persecution: terrorism is a challenge for the whole country.

The Pakistani Taliban have their own agenda: they do not want democracy, and they want to impose the Islamic law.

Ordained in 1962, Father Mendes is the former executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace and the former director of Caritas Asia.

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