—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (March 3, 2011) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) issued a press release today condemning the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities and the only Christian member of the Pakistani cabinet.
“ICNA is appalled by the assassination of Pakistani cabinet member Shahbaz Bhatti,” said Dr. Zahid Bukhari, President of ICNA. “We urge the Pakistani government to bring the perpetrators to justice. We also extend our condolences to Mr. Bhatti’s family; our thoughts and prayers are with them in this difficult time.”
“We remind those who cite the word of God to justify the murder of innocents that they have misjudged the true meaning of our faith. God states in the Quran, ‘Whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind’ (5:32). We are further reminded that ‘there is no compulsion in religion’ (2:256). We must remember that our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, also granted protection to all who lived under the Islamic state, regardless of race or religion. We are deeply alarmed by this rise in misguided vigilantism including the murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer.”
“The tragic killing of Mr. Bhatti is a setback in Pakistan’s struggle for an equal and inclusive society. We call on the Pakistani government and the people of Pakistan to protect the rights of religious minorities in the country, including the right to live and worship in safety.”
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