Questions raised over visit to Lambeth Palace of extremist Pakistani cleric
Concerns and questions have been raised by the meeting last month at Lambeth Palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury with a prominent Pakistani “hate preacher”, who has praised the killer of Pakistani politician Salmaan Taseer, who was murdered in 2011 for his criticism of the nation’s blasphemy laws and his championing of the rights of Christians. Archbishop Justin Welby tweeted it was “Great to welcome Pakistan’s Shaykh Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman at @LambethPalace today.” A spokesman for Lambeth Palace told CEN: “The Archbishop of Canterbury was pleased to meet Shaykh Naqib ur Rehman, a leading Sufi Muslim leader from Pakistan, at Lambeth Palace yesterday. The Archbishop received a first-hand account of the situation in Pakistan, which is a highly significant country for faith relationships in the UK.” However, the son of Salmaan Taseer told the International Business Times he was perturbed by the news. Taseer, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban and held prisoner for four years said: “These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in.” His brother Shehryar added: “I find it disrespectful that a man like this has been entertained by the Archbishop. My family has been on the front lines when it comes to inter-faith harmony and these people disrespect anyone and everyone who speaks about religious harmony.” Pakistani Anglican leaders declined to speak on the record about the visit, noting the repercussions their comments might have upon their safety. However the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, stated that if the accounts of the visit to Lambeth Palace as reported by IBT were true, “it shows the need to be properly briefed by well informed experts before visiting or receiving people, otherwise we will get a repetition of such own goals. It is necessary to have an integrated approach to interfaith relations and fundamental rights for Christians and others in many parts of the world,” he noted.