[Anglican Communion News Service] Thousands of people Sept. 21 broke into a church compound in Pakistan, burnt down the church, and destroyed the homes of two priests and the school headteacher.
The motivation behind the attack in Mardan, near Peshawar, is not yet clear, but the school was looted with newly installed computers being stolen and the building was set alight. No-one is reported to have been injured in the attack.
The Bishop of Peshawar Humphrey Peters has appealed for support from the Anglican Communion: “The damage has been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers.”
The moderator of the Church of Pakistan, the Most Rev. Samuel Robert Azariah, condemned the attack: “This news is very damaging to relations between the communities in Pakistan and around the world.
“The government and faith leaders in Pakistan have a role to play in educating people that they have the right to protest, but to damage property and terrify people in this way is completely wrong. The government and faith leaders should provide the lead in preventing attacks.”
The Diocese of Peshawar, where the attack took place, provides education and health services to the local community – Muslim and Christian alike – and provided substantial support to victims of floods and a major earthquake in recent years, regardless of their religious affiliation.