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Sunday, 28 October, 2001, 16:34 GMT
Archbishop condemns Pakistan killings
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey
Archbishop of Canterbury: Thoughts and prayers
The Archbishop of Canterbury has led the UK condemnation of an armed attack on a Christian church in Pakistan in which at least 18 people died.

Gunmen opened fire on worshippers at St Dominic's Church in the town of Behawalpur, in the Punjab province.

No one has so far said they carried out the attack, but officials said members of a banned Islamic group were under suspicion.

Dr George Carey said: "I condemn unreservedly the killing of Christian worshippers in Pakistan.


Terrible scenes like the attack on the Catholic Church are part of a propaganda war to weaken public opinion and the coalition's resolve

Ian Duncan Smith
"Christian minorities in many parts of the world sometimes feel beleaguered and under pressure, but I call upon everyone to recognise that this is not a conflict between Christianity and Islam.

"My prayers and thoughts are with the families of the bereaved."

Survivors say the gunmen locked the doors and sprayed fire at the Protestant congregation who were using the church at the time, riddling the walls with bullet holes.

'Propaganda war'

Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said the "horrific" killings should not deflect from the task of bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice.

Mr Duncan Smith, a Roman Catholic, said: "This was a horrific act, not only to have killed this number of people, but also to have killed them while they were at prayer.

"Terrible scenes like the attack on the Catholic Church are part of a propaganda war to weaken public opinion and the coalition's resolve.

"Britain and America must make sure we do not lose the propaganda war and restate our clear and central purpose and show there is a central political dimension which goes beyond the bombing."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Susannah Price
"They opened fire indiscriminately"
Dr Francis Nazir, Catholic community worker,
talks to the BBC's Susannah Price
Enver Mahmood, Pakistan Secretary for Information
"This is an attack not just against the Christian community but against Pakistan itself"
See also:

28 Oct 01 | South Asia
Christians massacred in Pakistan
28 Oct 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's Christian minority
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