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Pakistani Christian School Reopens Two Years After Violent Attack

Murree Christian School in Pakistan reopened on Sunday, commemorating the six school workers killed in the Aug. 5, 2002 attack by Islamic militants
( [email protected] ) Aug 23, 2004 08:42 PM EDT

Two years after Islamic militants stormed the campus of a Christian school in Pakistan, killing six people, sources say the school has reopened with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate those who were lost.

According to the Associated Press, Pakistan’s Education Minister, Zobaida Jalal joined teachers, students, and parents for a small ceremony at the Murree Christian School on Sunday, Aug. 22.

The school, located about 35 miles northeast of the capital Islamabad, had educated the children of mostly foreign Christian missionaries for nearly half a century, before closing for two years after the Aug. 5, 2002 attack.

On that day, according to eyewitness accounts, five masked gunmen riding on motorcycles forced their way into the Christian school compound at Garyal village and opened indiscrimate fire. All the schoolchildren and members of the teaching staff were safe, however, three school workers including a retired teacher and two security guards were shot dead. A passerby was also among the dead.

During the ceremony, Jalal unveiled a gold-colored plaque with the names of the deceased.

Luke Cutherell, the chairman of the school’s directors, paid tribute to the sacrifice of the victims.

“That we, as an educational institution, will carry on, is an indication that we have not been overcome by evil,” he said.

Islamic militants have staged several attacks on minority Christians in Pakistan, reported AP, as well as against Westerners, since President Gen. Pervez Musharraf decided to become an ally in the U.S.-led war on terror in lat 2001.

Days after the attack in Murree, militants tossed grenades at a church in the grounds of a Presbyterian hospital in Taxila, west of Islamabad, kill four nurses.

Built in 1956, Murree Christian School serves mainly the children of missionary parents who rely on the Institution to provide "security, family and a good education". By its own admission, the Church of Scotland-owned school and boarding facility, allows the missionaries to witness and work in situations which are both difficult and dangerous.

[Source: Associated Press]