A feat on feet: From Karachi to Kingdom ... with banner of peace

Updated 02 October 2013
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A feat on feet: From Karachi to Kingdom ... with banner of peace

Kharlzada Kasrat, a Pakistani man who entered the Kingdom on foot from Pakistan, embarked on a walk for peace from Karachi to Makkah on June 7 and arrived in the Kingdom through the Jordanian border on Monday.
Kasrat, who twice staged the longest peace walks in the world, was provided with a medical team and security escorts by Saudi authorities upon his arrival into the Kingdom. He walked through Iran, Iraq and Jordan. The total distance from Karachi to Makkah is 6,387 km by foot.
Speaking with Arab News, he said he had chosen Makkah as his final destination given its spiritual significance. He said he was congratulated by residents in Tabuk in large numbers. He said he was touched with the warm welcome and hospitality of Saudis when he crossed into border.
“The purpose of my visit is to promote peace on the basis of humanity, as Islam preaches. Pakistani tribes that were previously known for their hospitality are now branded as terrorists and are being subject to persecution,” said Kasrat.
“I sold my personal items to embark on the walk as I lack financial resources.”
Kasrat said: “I am thankful to Saudi authorities and I hope they will provide me with accommodation.”
He said he had walked 1,301 km in Pakistan, 2,640 km in Iran, 600 km in Iraq and 800 km in Jordan before reaching the Kingdom.
Kharlzada has recalled his harrowing experience in the Iraqi desert, where he walked a 100-km stretch that was completely deserted.
He also said that militants in Baluchistan in Pakistan attempted to kidnap him. He said he slept at a check post in Tabuk upon arrival, then left Tabuk hoping to reach Madinah on Sept. 20 and Makkah on Oct. 1. Kharlzada is walking on average 50 km per day.
It took him two days to reach Tabuk from the border.


Extreme Easter: Flogging, crucifixions in Philippines

Updated 19 April 2019
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Extreme Easter: Flogging, crucifixions in Philippines

  • Nearly 80 percent of people in the Philippines are Catholic
  • Catholicism is a legacy of the nation’s 300 years of Spanish colonial rule that ended at the turn of the 20th century

SAN FERNANDO, Philippines: Hundreds of barefoot men beat themselves with flails and at least 10 were to be nailed onto crosses throughout Good Friday in a blood-soaked display of religious fervor in the Philippines.
Frowned upon by the Church, the ritual crucifixions and self-flagellation are extreme affirmations of faith peformed every Easter in Asia’s Catholic outpost.
Barefoot men wearing crowns of twigs walked silently on the side of a village road in the scorching tropical heat of the northern Philippines, flogging their backs with bamboo strips tied to a length of rope.
While many of the 80 million Filipino Catholics spend Good Friday at church or with family, others go to these extreme lengths to atone for sins or seek divine intervention in a spectacle that has become a major tourist attraction.
“This is a religious vow. I will do this every year for as long as I am able,” 38-year-old truck driver Resty David, who has been self-flagellating for half his life at his village in the northern Philippines, told AFP.
He said he also hoped it would convince God to cure his cancer-stricken brother.
Blood and sweat soaked through the penitents’ pants with some spectators grimacing with each strike of the lash.
Some hid behind their companions to avoid the splatter of gore and ripped flesh.
Many in the crowds had driven for hours to witness the frenzied climax of the day’s gory spectacle, when believers allow themselves to be nailed to crosses in a re-enactment the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
“I’m a little bit overwhelmed. It’s very intense, I haven’t expected something like this,” German tourist Annika Ehlers, 24, told AFP.
Ehlers said she had witnessed the first of 10 scheduled crucifixions during the day in villages around the city of San Fernando, about 70 kilometers (40) miles) north of Manila.
Eight centimeter (three-inch) spikes are driven through both the man’s hands and feet before the wooden cross is raised briefly for the crowds to see. After that the nails are pulled out and he is given medical treatment.
The Church says the faithful should spend Lent in quiet prayer and reflection.
“The crucifixion and death of Jesus are more than enough to redeem humanity from the effects of sins. They are once in a lifetime events that need not be repeated,” Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines official Father Jerome Secillano said.
“Holy Week.... is not the time to showcase man’s propensity for entertainment and Pharisaical tendencies,” he added.
Nearly 80 percent of people in the Philippines are Catholic, a legacy of the nation’s 300 years of Spanish colonial rule that ended at the turn of the 20th century.