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Christmas in Kashmir: Muslim artisans help restore Catholic church

One of the restorers' ancestors built the Gothic gem back in the 1880s

Muslim architects, masons and artisans rush to complete the renovation of St. Luke's Church in Srinagar, Kashmire region, India. (Photo by Raihana Maqbool)

SRINAGAR, India -- Farooq Ahmad Gilkar, a senior restoration expert and mason here in India's mostly Muslim Kashmir region, was overwhelmed by the opportunity he was presented with not so long ago -- bring back the majesty of St. Luke's Catholic Church, a 125-year-old structure that had been left rotting for decades.

The finishing touches were being applied early on Christmas Eve, and the church originally built by missionary doctors was to reopen for prayers later in the day.

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