Grand Mufti and Bishop jointly contest the Blasphemy Law

The Associate Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Thomas Schirrmacher, and the WEA’s specialist in questions relating to Islam, Christine Schirrmacher, have visited the Grand Mufti of Lahore, Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad. There are up to 100,000 people who pray on Fridays in the Badschahi Mosque under his purview. The Badschahi Mosque was constructed in the period 1671-1673. It is the largest mosque in Pakistan, the second largest in southern Asia, and the fifth largest in the world.

Grand Mufti Azad and Bischof Schirrmacher in conversation © BQ / Warnecke

Grand Mufti Azad and Bischof Schirrmacher in conversation © BQ / Warnecke

Schirrmacher thanked the Grand Mufti for having several times stood in the way of Muslim mobs seeking to set Christians’ homes on fire and for having frequently demonstrated his solidarity after attacks on Christians. He has done so by seeking out the locations where these crimes occurred and condemning Islamic extremism.

Topics addressed during the approximate four hour visit were, in addition to the significant differences between Islam and Christianity, the situation facing religious minorities in Pakistan, Pakistan’s blasphemy law, and slavery in brick production.

Grand Mufti Azad and Bishop Schirrmacher were in agreement that extremists in Pakistan have come to view criticism of the blasphemy law as itself blasphemy. Ministers, governors, high level judges have for that reason been killed or threatened. The Grand Mufti reported that he is permanently endangered and lives under massive police protection.

Christine Schirrmacher bei einem Vortrag vor pakistanischen Anwälten © BQ / Warnecke

Christine Schirrmacher bei einem Vortrag vor pakistanischen Anwälten © BQ / Warnecke

In addition to the meeting with the Grand Mufti, Christine and Thomas Schirrmacher met with the Arch Bishop of the United Church of Pakistan (Anglican & Lutheran), further leaders of Protestant churches and the chairman of the Evangelical Alliance in Pakistan. Furthermore, they held guest lectures, interviewed slaves in a brick factory, and held a seminar on human rights together with the Pakistani lawyers’ association “The Voice.”

“Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad is the Grand Mufti of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. He is the Chairman of the National Peace Council for Interfaith Harmony in Pakistan, the Chairman of Pakistan’s Tanzeem Aiema Masajid Council and the Majlas-e-Ulama Council. For 20 years he has been active in interreligious dialogue. As a passionate supporter of harmony and peace between religions and cultures, in particular between Christians and Muslims, he is an advocate for dialogue in Pakistan as well as internationally” (www.forum-weltkirche.de).


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