The Pakistani and Afghan communities of Athens, at a press conference attended by MPs from SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance and members of the United Movement against Racism and the Fascist Threat (KEERFA), stressed the need for establish a Muslim cemetery in Athens.
Their claim was brought to light by the refugee family Fagiri, whose five-year-old child died in a road accident in January 2021 in Malakasa, north of Athens, and was buried in the city cemetery. of Schistos, southwest of Athens.
The parents demanded justice for the death of their child, that he be reinterred in the Muslim cemetery in Thrace and that a Muslim cemetery be established in Attica.
The family’s lawyer Nikos Papadatos, who was present at the press conference, noted that “the Church of Greece itself has come out in favor of the creation of a Muslim cemetery, but the demand is bogged down in the bureaucracy”.
He called for a political decision that would simplify the relevant procedures.
The demand by Athens’ Pakistani community, made up mostly of male illegal immigrants, for a Muslim cemetery comes as fourteen gunmen attacked a Christian school in the town of Sheikhupura in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The activists demanded extortion money from the school principal and issued death threats if the school authorities did not pay.
The incident happened on April 29 at the Global Passion School. School principal Simon Peter Kaleem said the gunmen stormed the school, tortured staff and damaged their vehicles.
The Presbyterian-run school has been providing free education and food to Christian students from brick kiln families since 2018, the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA news) reported.
The assailants threw chairs at the children as they prayed in the hall at 11:30 a.m., according to the school principal.
“They attacked the security guard and demanded 100,000 rupees (536 USD) in extortion money every month, threatening that if their demand was not met, they would forcibly stop the Christian worship and operations of the school,” Kaleem said in a first information report to local police. .
“They behaved badly with the female staff and made death threats if we didn’t pay within two days. They also damaged staff cars and motorbikes parked in the building, causing a total loss estimated at Rs 350,000.
Kaleem, who was also tortured, was due to hold a press conference with Sheikhupura district police and political leaders at the school on May 2, UCA News reported.
“Many of our religious and political leaders, when visiting other countries, say that minorities and Christians are safe in Pakistan. After what happened to us today, I will never say that. Our security guard can’t even walk now. Our community is threatened with silence,” Kaleem said in a video posted to social media.
“Some of the neighboring Muslim community always tried to stop us from praying. They literally demanded the noise stop and the “kanjar khana” (brothel). We want to be treated fairly. Please pray for us. »
Last week’s assault is the third attack on a religious institution in Punjab province this year, reports UCA news.
In March, police in Lahore arrested a young Muslim man who climbed onto the roof of the One in Christ Church and sat on the cement cross chanting “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great) while trying to to win against her.
In January, police charged four people with blasphemy for ransacking St. Camille’s Church in a village in Okara district, Punjab province.
According to parishioners, the looters tied up the Christian caretaker and threw images of the Holy Family, the Eucharist, Bibles and the Ark of the Covenant on the ground.
The Christian community, which represents about 1.6% of Pakistan’s population, suffers from both racism and religious intolerance.
Christians continue to suffer targeted violence and other abuses, including land grabbing in rural areas, kidnappings and forced conversions, and vandalism of homes and churches.
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