An inter-religious women’s group in Pakistan has appealed to the United Nations to offer support and protection for those suffering in Iraq and Gaza. Organized under the patronage of the Council for Interfaith Dialogue in the Archdiocese of Lahore, Pakistan, an inter-faith group of more than 50 women - including lay and religious - gathered Aug. 26 for a special prayer service, offered for the deceased Christians and Muslims in Iraq and Gaza. Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, national coordinator of the Council for Interfaith Dialogue, led the prayer service. He was joined by Advocate Shabnam Nagi, chair of the women’s wing of the council. The interfaith women’s group appealed to United Nations, as well as to heads of the countries involved and of other states and rival groups, asking them “to take immediate steps to stop killings of innocent Christians in Iraq and Muslims in Gaza including children, women, youth and elderly people.” The women expressed horror at the violence the has ravaged Gaza and Iraq, voicing prayerful solidarity with the suffering victims of persecution, particularly the vulnerable minority religious groups choked under the escalated attacks in recent weeks. In addition, the gruopoffered prayers for an end to violence and killing. Members told CNA that their earnest prayer is that the “earth may not become redder with the blood of innocent human-beings.” During the prayer service, participants lit candles in the memory of the deceased in Iraq and Gaza. “The Council for Interfaith Dialogue in Archdiocese of Lahore is working untiringly to promote inter-faith harmony between the communities through workshops, conventions and collaborating in inter-religious events,” local catechist Asif Nazir told CNA. “Peace and development cannot be achieved by hatred but by a common collaborative action, which is need at this hour, especially in our country.” Recently, the interfaith dialogue council hosted an inter-religious banquet with the Islamic community during Ramadan to promote dialogue, friendship and harmony in the Archdiocese of Lahore.