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Naz Shah MP, The Very Reverend Andy Bowerman and Islamic Relief Pakistan team

Naz Shah MP, The Very Reverend Andy Bowerman and Islamic Relief show solidarity between Christian and Muslim communities after the recent riots in Jaranwala, Pakistan

Representatives of the city of Bradford, a city with a significant Pakistani diaspora, the MP for Bradford West, and the Dean of Bradford met Christian families in Jaranwala, Pakistan (Sunday 1 October) who were affected by riots in early September and were provided with emergency aid by the charity Islamic Relief. 

More than one thousand Christian families were impacted by the senseless violence. Mobs torched and vandalised churches and homes, forcing families to flee – with children and elderly people among the homeless, sleeping out in the open fields. People’s food stocks and belongings were also destroyed in the blaze.  

Islamic Relief joined civil society groups, religious scholars, and the government of Pakistan in strongly condemning the attacks.  

After the Jaranwala riots, Islamic Relief’s emergency response team distributed food packs and items including hygiene kits to displaced families. Children and adults were also in need of psychosocial support after witnessing extreme violence and the destruction of their homes.  

Naz Shah MP and The Very Reverend Andy Bowerman, Dean of Bradford, visited Jaranwala to express their solidarity with and support for the affected communities.

Naz Shah MP, The Very Reverend Andy Bowerman and Islamic Relief Pakistan team

On their visit with Islamic Relief, they saw how communities in Pakistan pulled together to support their neighbours regardless of their backgrounds, as they did during the devastating floods that hit the country last year. This visit showcased the important role faith can play in easing tensions and building better understanding between faith communities. Islamic Relief’s faith-based approach to supporting communities provided a sensitive response to the local Christian community in Pakistan. 

Naz Shah MP for Bradford West said:

No community religious or otherwise should be persecuted and driven out of their homes because of the faith they choose to believe in.

Naz Shah MP for Bradford West.

“This is why, as someone who campaigns so heavily on the rise of Islamophobia, I felt it was so important to stand up to the persecution some Christian communities have faced in this area of Pakistan.” 

“Being here, in person to provide aid, to show solidarity and also to ensure I can be a voice to call out such hatred makes me hope that these communities who have faced such struggles do not feel alone with no voice or support in their struggle.” 

The Very Reverend, Andy Bowerman, said:

I am pleased to have been able to return to Pakistan with my friend Naz Shah MP to speak up for peace, which is at the heart of her and my faith. We pray that our short visit will be part of the narrative for change.

The Very Reverend, Andy Bowerman.

“Pakistan is a nation close to my heart having lived and worked there for a number of years. I stand with all people who are persecuted because of their religious belief.”

Islamic Relief Country Director, Asif Sherazi said:

We welcomed MP Naz Shah and The Very Reverend Andy Bowerman, to Pakistan to show their support and solidarity in helping to bring communities together.

Asif Sherazi, Islamic Relief Country Director.

“Inspired and guided by our Islamic faith and our values, we condemn all attacks on places of worship and religious communities, and we provide aid to vulnerable people regardless of their faith. No one should be a target because of their religion.” 

For more information, please contact Jonaid Jilani at [email protected] or 07872403534 

Photographs can be found here:  

Video can be found here: @nazshahbfd and Andy Bowerman share their thoughts after visiting communities in Jaranwala, who returned to damaged houses and trauma of a… | Instagram 

About Islamic Relief 

Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired, development and humanitarian agency working to transform and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in over 40 countries. Islamic Relief assists people according to need and does not discriminate in any way. 

Set up in Birmingham in 1984 by a group of volunteers, we have assisted over 117 million people all over the world. We’re saving lives and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 40 countries – from Bangladesh to Bosnia, Pakistan to Palestine, Kenya to Kosovo. Islamic Relief is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places – including Syria and Yemen – strengthening the most marginalised communities to withstand conflict and natural disasters and to build a brighter future. We also support vulnerable people in the UK in partnership with local charities and organisations. 


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