Muslims helping to rebuild Christian school in Kashmir

September 20, 2011

Bangalore, India, September 20 (ENInews)--Muslims in Kashmir, in the
northwest of the Indian subcontinent, are supporting the re-building of a
Christian school that was destroyed by fire during anti-Christian violence one
year ago. 

"What happened here is certainly wrong and it should not have happened. I
can assure you that our people will not allow it to happen again," Munshi
Mukhtar Ahmed, a Muslim teacher in a government school in the town of
Tangmarg, told ENInews on 20 September. 

On 13 September 2010, the Tyndale Biscoe School was the target of Muslims
protesting a reported desecration of the Quran in the U.S. that marked the
ninth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks. The school is in
the town of Phulwama and is run by the Church of North India (CNI), the
dominant Protestant denomination in North India.

Two dozen Muslim protesters were killed by security forces and over 100
injured. There are about four million Muslims in Kashmir and 5,000 Christians. 

"The burning of the school was a big loss for the local (Muslim) community
and they are still feeling the pinch of it," said Ahmed. The church-run
school has about 450 students, almost all of them Muslims.

Rajinder Kaul, the school's principal, told ENInews that the school was
reopened later in a dilapidated building belonging to the government health

Kaul said that the school in June shifted to temporary prefabricated
cubicles at the same compound where the former school, built in wood in the
elegant Kashmiri architectural style, had been reduced to ashes.

"The arson was led by a mob from outside ... They did not know the damage
they have done," Gulam Mohammed Bhat, a Muslim on the school management
committee, told ENInews after a 20 September meeting to plan the school's

"We are happy that the (Muslim) community has deplored what had happened,"
CNI bishop Pradeep Kumar Samantroy of Amritsar told ENInews. "Our loss has
been heavy. But the most important thing is that we have been able to
rebuild peace," said Samantroy.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir is contributing to the school
rebuilding. Bhat said that local Muslims will volunteer to help during construction
of the new school building.