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September 8 2014 | ANTWERP, BELGIUM

Paul Bhatti and Khabir Azad: united against violence in Pakistan

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In Pakistan, stage of tension and violence between Muslims and Christians, Paul Bhatti, brother of Shabaz, Pakistani minister for minority affairs killed in March 2011 for his work on behalf of a culture of peace and coexistence between the religious minorities of the country, are working together to create a model of dialogue and friendship between the leaders of the two religions.
 “Islam is a religion of peace and well-being. According to the Koran, the best person in the world is he who brings well-being to all people”, said Azad, one the leading Muslim figures of Pakistan. 
The model the two men are seeking to create consists of talking to each other and seeking peaceful solutions every spark of tension. The Imam told the story of the time a group of Muslims set fire to the homes of some Christians and was set on continuing their rampage. Azad, rushed to the scene, gathered the rioters, blessed them and told them that what they were doing was not the Prophet’s teaching, persuading them to cease their violent gesture.  
For his part, Paul Bhatti recalled the time he availed of his personal relationship with Azad to put a stop to a violent attack of a young woman accused of blasphemy, an accusation later dismantled, and the time he got the support of many Muslims when he later received death threats. 
 “The most important thing is to uncover the roots of violence, Azad asserted, roots that Bhatti attributed to the population’s ignorance: if children do not go to school, they cannot develop their cultural potential and thus become a fertile terrain for the inculcation of violent ideologies, which go against the grain of the world’s great religions.

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