Pakistani Christians make pilgrimage to European shrines to pray for peace

.- Father Mario Rodriguez, director of the Pontifical Missionary Works in Pakistan, reported this week a group of Pakistani Christians will be going on pilgrimage to the main European shines to pray for peace in their country.

Speaking to the Fides news agency, Father Rodriguez said the delegation would be made up of priests, religious and lay people. The pilgrims plan to visit Rome, Venice, Padua, Assisi, Lourdes and Fatima. 

“During the pilgrimage we will have the people of Swat and Malanakd, who are suffering from violence, in our hearts and in our minds. We will commend our country to the prayers of the Holy Father, and when we visit the Marian shrines our prayers will [represent] ... the millions of refugees who are suffering today in Pakistan,” he said.

Fides reported that in addition to the continual battle between the Taliban and the government, there are episodes of discrimination and violence against the non-Muslim minorities in the northeastern part of the country.

It also said that Christian communities are being forced to pay an Islamic tax.  “The completely arbitrary imposition is the decision of local Muslim leaders, in open violation of the Pakistani state legal system, which does not allow for it,” Fides said.

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