Over 500 senior Muslim leaders have signed a declaration denouncing Islamic terror and pledging their support for the release of embattled Christian woman, Asia Bibi.
The “Islamabad Declaration,” was signed over the weekend during the “Seerat-e-Rehmat-ul-Alameen (SAW) Conference” and demonstrated a unified commitment to ending the barbaric violence perpetrated in the name of the Islamic religion.
As well as issuing a public rebuke of those who use their religion to incite violence against minorities, the declaration made special reference to the plight of Asia Bibi, the Christian mother who was recently acquitted on bogus charges of blasphemy. They urged the Supreme Court to settle the final appeal against her conviction as “a priority.”
According to Asia News, the declaration consisted of seven key points, the first of which condemned any murders that are committed “on the pretext of religious belief,” adding that this “is against the teachings of Islam.”
More from Pakistani outlet The News International on point three and four:
“3) Any Islamic sectarian group could not be declared as infidel. Any Muslim or non-Muslim could not be declared as doomed to death extra-judicially. Faithful of all the religions and religious sects have constitutional rights to live in the country as per their cultural and religious norms.
4) A complete ban should be ensured on use of loudspeakers except Azan and Juma sermons. People of any religion and religious sects can arrange their congregations with consent of local administration.”
Point four is likely in response to the deadly rallies held by radical clerics following Bibi’s acquittal, during which they used loudspeakers to whip up the crowd into frenzied chants of “Hang Infidel Asia.”
In addition, point five declared that any literature inciting religious hatred or violence must be confiscated and point six argued that “it is the responsibility of the government to ensure protection of life and property of non-Muslims living in Pakistan.”
The imams urged the government to do more in its quest to protect religious minorities. The year 2019, they said, will be the year “to annihilate terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence from Pakistan.”
It was a staggering show of progress in a country that has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent months.
“The Declaration of Islamabad is a step in the right direction,” said Fr. Bonnie Mendes, the Pakistani Catholic priest of Faisalabad, as reported by Fides.org. “We need to develop it to improve the image of the country: this is the way forward: government and opposition must work together to legislate on good policies, while civil society, religious communities and all citizens must work together for the social, civil and cultural progress of our country.”
Do continue to pray for all those in the nation of Pakistan who are seeking after a more tolerant, inclusive and safe society.