In Pakistan ’s northeastern Punjab province, Muslim villagers are raising funds to help their poor Christian neighbors build a church .
The initiative was begun shortly before Easter by a group of Muslims from a village in Faisalabad, Pakistan ’s textile -manufacturing hub .
“ There is a tiny Christian population in the village — only 20 families — who have no place to worship , ” Fr. Aftab James, the local priest, told Anadolu Agency .
“ Only days before Easter, the initiative was taken up by our Muslim brothers ,” he said . According to Fr . James , Christians of the village had to use someone ’ s home — or some other site — to perform prayers on holy days .
“ Muslim residents of the town, however , offered to build us a chapel as a gift,” he said . “ We are thankful to our Muslim brothers for this wonderful gesture . It makes us feel proud , ” the priest said .
The local Christian community is now very excited that they will soon have a church in the village .FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
“ Before we had to rent or borrow a house in which to hold Christmas, Easter and other festivities,” Faryad Masih , a Christian laborer , told Anadolu Agency .
“ But now we will soon have our own chapel ,” he said .
“ At first I didn’ t believe it when Muslim community leaders said they would build us a chapel ,” he recalled.
“ But to my surprise, construction work began within one month of the initial announcement , ” a visibly excited Faryad said . “ Our community ’s longtime dream is now coming true , ” he said .
Christians, Pakistan’s largest religious minority , account for roughly 3 percent of the country ’ s total population of some 180 million.
Most of them reside in Punjab , Pakistan’ s largest province , where they are mainly involved in the sanitation , nursing and teaching sectors .
Almost 60 percent of Pakistan’s Christian community is Protestant, while the rest are Catholic . The country ’ s Christians are represented in Pakistan ’s government and Senate , and in national and provincial assemblies .LIKE US ON FACEBOOK