UK Church Remembers Shahbaz Bhatti
The UK church has paid tribute to the life and work of Pakistan’s slain Minorities Minister at a service of remembrance today.
By Karen Peake
03/17/2011 UK (Christian Today)-Shahbaz Bhatti was assassinated by gunmen in Pakistan’s capital Faisalabad earlier this month. He was a long-time campaigner for reform to the country’s controversial blasphemy law, which the church says is being misused to persecute Christians.
The service at St Margaret’s church, next to Westminster Abbey, was organised by the Church of England and attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and senior bishops from Pakistan.
The homily was delivered by Bishop Tony Robinson, who said that Pakistani Christian communities in the UK had been deeply saddened by Bhatti’s death and wanted to mark the tragedy in some way.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, gave a reading at the service.
He called upon the church to stand in solidarity with people in Pakistan suffering the consequences of violent extremism and the blasphemy laws, as well as those who stand up for justice in spite of the dangers.
“This service is yet another expression of the profound grief which has been felt around the world at the death of Shahbaz Bhatti,” he said.
“As we give thanks for his life, the best thing we can do to honour his memory is to ensure his death was not in vain.
“He committed his life to championing minority rights, religious freedom, inter-faith harmony, and justice, and he was prepared to die for these causes.”