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European Parliament calls for promotion of religious tolerance in counter-terrorism dialogue with Pakistan

Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Sunday, 23 May 2010, 15:32 (EST)
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Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has welcomed a resolution on freedom of religion in Pakistan, passed yesterday by the European Parliament. The resolution comes two weeks before the next EU-Pakistan Summit in Brussels.

While showing support for the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to improve the situation for religious minorities, the resolution calls for the review and amendment of the controversial blasphemy laws, expressing concern that they “are often used to justify censorship, criminalisation, persecution and … the murder of members of political, racial and religious minorities”.

The resolution also calls upon the Council of the European Union to “include the issue of religious tolerance in society in its counter-terrorism dialogue with Pakistan”, describing it as being “of central importance to the long-term fight against religious extremism”.

CSW’s National Director, Stuart Windsor, said, “The current Government of Pakistan has taken some concrete steps to protect religious minorities, but religious intolerance has extremely deep roots and much remains to be done. This resolution strikes an effective balance between recognising progress, and making necessary calls for further action. We believe that nothing less than full repeal of the blasphemy laws will end their misuse, but the European Parliament’s call for review and amendment is an important first step in this direction. We welcome the fact that the resolution recognises the need to place freedom of religion at the heart of EU dialogue with Pakistan, including in the context of counter-terrorism discussions.”

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