- Thursday, March 6, 2014
In an essay published by Titus Presler at Titus on Mission, the Rt. Rev. Munawar Rumalshah reflects on the terrorist bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2013:
What is the future of the small Christian community in Pakistan — is there a way forward for it? I am sure we will have different answers in response. But let me start by reminding ourselves that this was one of the ugliest incidents of terrorism against any community in Pakistan, and certainly the worst ever against the Christians in Pakistan. Such an incident must compel all Pakistanis to seriously reflect on the health of the nation, and for the Christians to recognize that this tragedy has to be the defining moment for its future. It has obviously created a lot of unrest and deep sense of insecurity. It has caused a huge wave of wanting to migrate to the West. We all know that this is not the answer, but people are finding themselves engulfed in panic. Interestingly, there has been very little sympathetic understanding by Western governments of this plight. There have been instances of cold-blooded refusals by some of the visa-issuing authorities.
Let me also address here our Faith-siblings in the West, asking them how they wish to relate with us in the future. The Western Christians must recognize the vulnerability of the minority Christian presence in the majority Islamic lands, Pakistan being the prime example of this scenario. It leads to the question as to how we can build up an acceptable and effective face of the Gospel Community in such an environment. Perhaps the simple answer is to build a viable community, not only in terms of faith, but also in economic and social terms. Indeed, it has to be a wholistic approach. In order to move forward on this road, we the Pakistani Christians must come together under the umbrella of unity of purpose as one community, beyond our own denominational and personal interests. Our common cause has to be equipping our small community with resources to build up an economic base, which naturally would lead to social acceptance. This has to be the most essential and fundamental message of this massacre. Our Western faith siblings must equally recognize that any relationship with us has to be based on the principle of mutual responsibility and inter-dependence and not on piece-meal terms or using the ‘recipe’ of the NGOs. It has to be a living relationship within the One Holy and Catholic Church.