WASHINGTON—The March 2 assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Minister of Minority Affairs, silenced the voice of someone who worked to raise the profile of all minorities, especially Christians, said the bishop who oversees international justice and peace matters for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“Mr. Bhatti promoted interfaith dialogue with the goal of advancing religious tolerance within the broader Pakistani society. Now, his courageous voice has been tragically silenced,” said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace.
The Vatican, in a statement issued March 2, called Mr. Bhatti’s killing an “unspeakable act of violence” and appealed for everyone to “become aware of the urgent importance of defending both religious freedom and Christians who are subject to violence and persecution.”
Bishop Hubbard echoed these concerns, stating, “We urge the United States to work in partnership with the government of Pakistan to ensure that concrete steps are taken to protect the human rights and religious freedom of all its citizens, including vulnerable minorities.”
Keywords: Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan, Minister of Minority Affairs, International Justice and Peace, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Albany, assassination, USCCB, U.S. bishops, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
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