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Massacre leads to improved interfaith relations, say church leaders

A month after the massacre of 16 people at a Catholic church, Pakistan's Catholic leaders said reaction to the killings has improved communications between Muslims and Christians.

"Muslims of all walks of life have expressed their horror at this terrorist act and affirmed their acceptance of their Christian brothers and sisters," Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, told Catholic News Service.

"This has brought us closer to the Muslims," he said.

Christians in Pakistan had feared they would be harassed once the United States bombed Afghanistan in retaliation for the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

The 28 October massacre at the church in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, was a "sad consequence of the war, but I believe it was an isolated incident," said Archbishop Saldanha, chairman of the bishops' justice and peace commission.