Minister Who Lost 20 Relatives in Terrorist Attack Speaks of Forgiveness: A church of Scotland minister has spoken out about how he was ultimately able to forgive the terrorists who killed his mother and 19 other relatives in Pakistan.
Suicide bombers struck All Saints Church in Peshawar on 22 September 2013 killing at least 122 people including Rev Aftab Gohar’s 20 relatives. Over 250 people were reportedly injured following the incident.
Rev Gohar who grew up in Pakistan but was in Scotland at the time of the incident has narrated according to Christian Today how he was able to forgive the attackers.
Gohar acknowledged that forgiving The suicide bombers was difficult. He noted however that he took inspiration from Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch woman who survived the Ravensbrück concentration camp after being caught helping Jews to escape the Nazis.
“It was hard for me to forgive those responsible but with the strength of God I did so and freed myself from the extra burden of hatred and revenge,” he said.
“On the cross, Jesus prayed for those who were crucifying him: ‘Forgive them, Father, they don’t know what they are doing.
“Jesus said ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – a lesson that some people find impossible to follow.”
On the day of the incident, Gohar recalled getting ready to preach a sermon at his church’s Sunday service in Scotland when he received a text message informing him about the suicide bombing attack that claimed the lives of his mother, Iqbal Gohar, nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends.
In a bid not to disappoint his parishioners by canceling the service, he carried on as normal and only told them what had happened after the service.
He attributes the attack to Pakitsan’s contentious anti-blasphemy laws, which Christians claim are frequently exploited against them.
Last week, Rev Gohar joined other campaigners in handing in a petition to the Pakistan Consulate in Glasgow. The petition calls on the Pakistani government to improve safety for religious minorities and use the blasphemy law to punish those who attack Christians.