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Bolton priest raises concerns about victims of Peshawar attack

01 November 2013


Prayer: Pakistani Christian worshippers, some of them who survived Sunday's suicide bombing, pray during a special mass for the victims of the bombing, at the church where the attack took place, on Monday

Prayer: Pakistani Christian worshippers, some of them who survived Sunday's suicide bombing, pray during a special mass for the victims of the...

A PRIEST of the Church of England who lost more than 25 members of his extended family in the terrorist attack on All Saints', Peshawar, last month (News, 27 September), has raised the alarm about the plight of those injured in the blast.

The Team Vicar of West Bolton, the Revd Fayaz Adman, was born in Peshawar, and was baptised, confirmed, and ordained at All Saints'. He visited the city in the days after what is believed to be one of the worst ever attacks on Pakistani Christians. After visiting graveyards, he estimated that at least 150 died in the attack, and that people were still dying "because of those fragments in their bodies".

He was alarmed by the situation of the many people still in need of hospital treatment. "It is sad to share with you that the local private hospitals are charging about 30,000 to 40,000 rupees [£300 to £400] a month," he said. "It is a fortune, there. So, after our discussion with the community members in Peshawar, we are encouraging families to go to the Taxila Mission Hospital, 60 miles away.

"The hospital is running in very good condition, and we are happy to take those families. We need funds. We are looking for those people to walk back and go into All Saints' Church and worship the Lord again."

Taxila Christian Hospital was established in 1922, founded by Dr John Gregory Martin of the United Presbyterian Mission. In 2002, its chapel was targeted by terrorists in an attack in which four nurses were killled.

Mr Adman has established Project Ummed - which means "hope" - to raise these funds. Money is also needed to restore the graves of those who died in the attack, he said. Mr Adman's wife, Ghazala, a registered nurse, plans to travel out to Taxila to oversee the project.

A fund-raising event was held last Friday at St Peter's, Halliwell, and was supported by the writer Adrian Plass.

All Saints' was reopened days after the attack took place, but Mr Adman said that the congregation was "still in trauma". He has fond memories of growing up there: "It is the only Anglican church in the city; so about 20 different colonies around this city wall come to worship here, and every Sunday more than 600 people come to worship together."

The attack had come as a shock, Mr Adman said, because relations between Christians and Muslims in Peshawar had been good. Although there had been some discrimination, most blasphemy cases had been registered in the Punjab and other provinces. "Christians and Muslims have been living together for ages."

In the wake of the attack, however, he echoed calls by the British Pakistani Christian Association for asylum to be given to Pakistani Christians.

Since his return from Peshawar, Mr Adman has met the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, he said, was supportive of his project. On Tuesday, Lambeth Palace confirmed that Archbishop Welby plans to visit Pakistan next year.

Donations to Project Ummed can be made by cheque, payable to "Manchester DBF", Church House, 90 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2GH.

"Peshawar" should be written on the back of the cheque.

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