Archbishop of Canterbury calls for peace, religious harmony

Published February 28, 2022
The Archbishop of Canterbury arrives to a warm welcome at All Saints Church, Kohati Gate, Peshawar, on Sunday. — White Star
The Archbishop of Canterbury arrives to a warm welcome at All Saints Church, Kohati Gate, Peshawar, on Sunday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby participated in Sunday mass at All Saints Church here and gave a message of peace and religious harmony to people, especially in the context of war between Russia and Ukraine.

During his brief visit to Peshawar, he met with the relatives of the members of Christian community, who were killed in acts of terrorism. He was accompanied by Special Representative of Prime Minister for Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi and President of Church of Pakistan Bishop Azad Marshal.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also laid the foundation stone of peace and interfaith reconciliation centre at All Saints Church, Kohati Gate.

Justin Welby participates in Sunday mass at All Saints Church

A large number of members of Christian community including priests of different churches attended the Sunday mass. The guests were offered traditional gifts. Pakistan Council of World Religions Faith Friends representatives headed by Qari Rohullah Madani were also present on the occasion.

All Saints Church Vicar Shahzad Murad, Bishop of Diocese of Peshawar Humphrey Sarfraz Peter welcomed the guests and briefed them about the twin-bombing at All Saints Church Kohati Gate that took place on September 22, 2013 and about murder of a priest of Chamkani church William Siraj on January 31, 2022.

Tahir Ashrafi said that archbishop of Canterbury was a spiritual leader of Christians and was being respected and loved all over the world. He said that people and government of Pakistan welcomed the archbishop as his visit would promote interfaith harmony in the country.

Pastor Shahzad Murad told Dawn that archbishop of Canterbury was on a three-day visit to Pakistan. He came to Peshawar for a short visit to express solidarity with the heirs of the members of Christian community, who were killed in different incidents of terrorism.

“He participated in the Sunday mass and gave a message of peace and religious harmony, especially in the context of war between Russia and Ukraine. He urged the international community to work for peace, religious harmony and protection of each other rights,” said Shazad Murad.

He said that work on the peace and interfaith reconciliation centre had been started in 2004 to promote religious harmony. He said that followers of different religions were members of the centre.

Meanwhile, strict security measures were in place across the city to avert any untoward incident. Personnel of army and police were deputed in a large number on City Circular Road and Kohati area.

Roads were temporarily closed to traffic when the convoy of the archbishop was passing. Fork-lifters were also deputed in different areas that were lifting vehicles from roadsides on the route of the archbishop’s convoy.

SSP Haroon Rasheed also visited All Saints Church to review security arrangements. He assured the representatives of Christian community that all possible steps were taken for protection of the people including non-Muslims. He said that security of worship places, educational institutions and residential colonies of the minorities was reviewed to ensure foolproof safety of the people.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2022

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