In the shadow of the brutal massacre of 145 children and staff at a school in Peshawar last week by Taliban militants, Muslim and Christian communities in a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, have come together to light candles for the slain and to celebrate the birth of Isa or Jesus, revered by both communities.
In a project, spearheaded by HCR Pakistan, where the two communities are working together to use media to tackle health and social issues and build community cohesion, church and mosque leaders along with members from both communities remembered the families affected by the tragedy and spoke of the need for peace and harmony. While the pastor announced that they would not celebrate Christmas this year in the light of the murders, an Imam said that his community had brought a cake to celebrate the birth of Isa and that they must celebrate.
A Muslim community radio station in the UK, Awaz FM, joined the event live to report on the interfaith gathering and to discuss the deep grief felt by all Pakistanis at this time. They were joined by the mayors of High Wycombe and Slough, Cllrs Khalil Ahmed and Shafiq Chaudhry, who praised the organisers of the event, saying more events of this nature were needed to foster peace and understanding among Pakistani communities.