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Christian nurse under fire over Muslim prayer room

ICC Note: This is an update on an ongoing situation – ICC last posted an update on this story on February 16.

03/09/09 Pakistan ( – The Christian chief warden of a nurses’ hall of residence in Lahore is at risk of attack from a fanatical Muslim colleague, warns CLAAS UK.

Mrs Purses Gulzereen is chief warden at the hall for women training at the nursing school of the Children’s Hospital, where she is a senior lecturer. For the last six months, Mrs Purses has been embroiled in a conflict with a senior trainee doctor, Dr Naila of the Rehaim Yar Khan district, who has been living in the hall for the last two years.

Fanatical Muslim students reportedly came together with Dr Naila in acting aggressively after the establishment of the Christian prayer room. The hospital administration responded by ordering Mrs Purses to close down the Christian prayer room but she argued that if the Christian prayer room were to be closed down, the Muslim prayer room should also be closed. The administration took the decision to close both prayer rooms.

Dr Naila then reportedly misled local newspapers by telling them the Christian chief warden of the hall had closed down a mosque and stopped Muslim students and staff from offering their prayers, thereby preventing them from fulfilling their religious duties. She also repeated her previous allegation that Mrs Purses had tried to spread Christianity among the students at the hall.

Meanwhile, Dr Naila distributed Muslim literature to the students, including the Christians, whom she invited to embrace Islam. When the hospital administration told Dr Naila to stop such activities at Mrs Purses’ behest, Dr Naila suspected the chief warden’s intervention and started a campaign for her dismissal, as well as that of two Christian assistant wardens. She also reportedly started telling the Muslim nurses that all hall staff must be Muslims and that Islam was in danger under Christian management. The hospital administration reportedly became alarmed because of Dr Naila’s close links with fanatical Islamic organisations.

Two Christian assistant wardens were subsequently dismissed from their posts and two Muslim nurses appointed in their place. The administration also reportedly want to replace Mrs Purses as chief warden but have yet to find a candidate who matches her in suitability, seeing as she has managed the hall since it first opened.

Mrs Purses says she has received threatening calls from unidentified individuals telling her to let the Muslim students have their prayer room back. The hospital administration has told her it cannot help her in this matter and it has warned her that an Islamic organisation is on the look out for her… [Go To Full Story]