—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (August 8, 2009) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has expressed its strong anguish and condemnation against the recent riots in Gojra, Pakistan, which targeted the Christian community and killed seven people and destroyed several homes and a church.
“No matter what the pretext is–rumored or actual desecration of the Quran–this is completely unacceptable, and the Pakistani government must bring the perpetrators to justice immediately and must provide proper security to the churches so that such incidences do not occur in the future. Pakistan is among few countries in the world where minorities enjoy religious and individual freedom. The Pakistani goverment must do its best to prevent extremists from hurting the image of Pakistan in the rest of the world,” says Dr.Zahid Bukhari, the President of ICNA.
In a famous prophetic saying, the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have warned the Muslims stating, “Whoever oppresses the non-Muslims in a Muslim-dominated land shall find me [the Prophet] to be their [oppressed people’s] advocate on the Day of Judgment [against the oppressing Muslims].” Citing this quotation, Dr. Bukhari said, “The members of the civil society of Pakistan and all conscientious people must rise to the occasion and do their best to prevent such barbarism in the future. They must work to ensure the life, liberty and security of the Christian community and all members of the minority communities in Pakistan.”
ICNA also appreciates the Muslim groups who came forward to support the victims and raise funds to rebuild the houses and church destroyed in this despicable incident. ICNA, the largest grassroots-based American Muslim organization, stands firm against all forms of bigotry and urges people of all faiths to uphold the principles of fairness, fraternity and human brotherhood everywhere.