By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Islamic extremists have attacked an Anglican Church in Mardan Pakistan and an adjoining school. Some believe the stimulus was the government announced day of protest against an anti-Islam film.
The church burning.
According to a news release from the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), protesters set the church and school on fire and looted the premises, taking everything from computers to chairs and whatever else seemed valuable from the school.
The BPCA said that Muslims desecrated Bibles and religious artefacts, especially many of which were used in ceremonies within the Anglican church. Many were brought out into the public compound of the church and were set on fire.
The BPCA is concerned that similar incidents will reverberate throughout Pakistan.
According to additional information received by the ASSIST News Service, the Bishop of Peshawar the Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters condemned the attack and appealed for support from the Anglican Communion. He said, "The damage has been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers."
The Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, Most Rev. Samuel Azariah Samuel condemned the attack.
He said, "This news is very damaging to relations between the communities in Pakistan and around the world. The government and faith leaders in Pakistan have a role to play in education people that they have the right to protest, but to damage property and terrify people in this way is completely wrong. The government and faith leaders should provide the lead in preventing attacks."
The Diocese of Peshawar, where the attack took place, provides education and health services to the local community - Muslim and Christian alike - and provided substantial support to victims of floods and a major earthquake in recent years, regardless of their religious affiliation.
Wilson Chowdhry of the BPCA said in the news release, "No Christian in Pakistan is safe. Any community whether in a city or in a more rural location can at any time become the target of similar aggression. Please pray for all Christian brothers and sisters in Pakistan."