October 29, 2001 - NEW YORK -- The American Jewish Committee has decried the hideous attack during a service yesterday at St. Dominic’s Church in Behawalpur, Pakistan that killed 16 Christian worshippers.
“Sadly, Pakistan has a long record of intolerance of religious minorities,” said David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. “Any suggestion that this latest murderous violence against the Christian minority in Pakistan is somehow related to the U.S. war against terrorism is obscene.”
The 2001 U.S. State Department Reports on International Religious Freedom, issued last week, states that the Pakistan government “failed in many respects to protect the rights of minorities, due both to public policy and unwillingness to alienate certain society forces hostile to those that practice a different faith.”
Mr. Harris pointed out that the “annual State Department reports document a pattern of religious discrimination, including violence against the Christian minority in this overwhelming Muslim nation.”
He urged the U.S. to carry out the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to press the Pakistani government on a variety of issues. Those recommendations include punishing the perpetrators of sectarian violence and disarming militant groups, including any religious groups that provide weapons training.
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Contact: Kenneth Bandler (212) 891-6771 PR@ajc.org
Lisa Fingeret Roth (212) 891-1385 firstname.lastname@example.org