In contrast to the recent incident of violence against the Christian community in Jaranwala, a mosque and a church sharing a wall in the Nazimabad locality of Faisalabad continue to exemplify interfaith harmony in the area.
According to attendant Siddique Masih, the Saint Paul Catholic Church was established in 1962 at Haji Park on the suburbs of Nazimabad. The Christians begin religious rituals half an hour after prayer calls from the mosque’s loudspeaker to avoid any inconvenience, while the Muslim worshippers never show any ill feelings when the church bell rings.
Masih said both the religions teach harmony, understanding and tolerance between the communities.
“We also exchange Eid and Christmas gifts every year,” he added.
He said three streets around the mosque were inhabited mostly by the Christian community.
The prayer leader of Jamia Masjid Ali Fazli, Moulana Abdullah Anwari, said the mosque was named after the father of a local notable, Haji Shoukat, in 1994 and inaugurated by Mufti Zainul Abidin.
An understanding was reached between the communities that the church’s loudspeakers would remain silent during the calls for prayer and Friday sermons from the mosque.
He said the mosque was affiliated with the Dawat-o-Tableegh Jamat of Raiwand, which believed in coexistence of all communities.
Moulana Anwari condemned the incident of ransacking of churches and houses of Christian community by extremist elements and demanded that the government bring the culprits to the court of law. He termed the mob violence a stigma for the ummah.
He said no leniency should be offered by the state and security institutions towards those involved in the violence. The government should identify and investigate the perpetrators of the heinous crime, he added
He said mosque and church were where followers of both religions sought forgiveness. Meat of sacrificial animals was also distributed among Christian households to share the joys of Eid, he added. The cleric advised the Muslim community to show sympathy and tolerance towards the Christians in the hour of grief.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th2023.