Leeds imam issues statement following deadly blasts in Lahore
EXCLUSIVE: A religious leader from Leeds has condemned a terrorist attack that killed at least 10 people near two churches in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
At least 50 people were reportedly hurt in two bomb blasts at the Catholic Church and Christ Church in the city’s Youhanabad area.
An offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban group, which calls itself Jamatul Ahrar, said it carried out the attack.
Violent protests erupted after the blasts, with large crowds already in the area to attend Sunday mass.
“The terrorists are killing people indiscriminately”
Imam of Leeds Makkah Mosque, Qari Asim MBE, condemned the attacks and said the terrorists do not “represent any faith”.
He said: “The terrorists are killing people indiscriminately – their only aim is to cause chaos, devastation and bloodshed. Such violent actions are far removed from the teachings of Islam and the practice of the Prophet of Islam (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).
“Faith minorities living in Muslim countries must enjoy safety and security unconditionally. Islam has issued severe warnings to those who infringe rights of minorities. The sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) urging Muslims to protect the rights of faith minorities should be enough for people and government in Pakistan to defend the rights of minorities against the terrorists, who do not represent any faith.”
He also said the terrorists must be “brought to justice”.
Irfan Ashraf, Lahore’s deputy inspector-general of police operations, confirmed that a policeman and a private security guard were among the many dead.
He said they gave up their lives to stop the bombers from entering the churches.