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February 06, 2003

Pakistanis fear revolt against Christians

This article suggests the typical warning that if the U.S. attacks Iraq, Muslims in Pakistan will counter by attacking Christians. As though all was peaceful in that land of freedom
Since Sept. 11, 2001, Christians in Pakistan have been attacked and killed, and churches have been vandalized.

Persecution of Christians will increase if the United States attacks Iraq, said the Rev. Majid Abel, a minister from Pakistan who is visiting this month at Lincoln's Eastridge Presbyterian Church.

Islamic extremists identify the United States as Christian, and therefore lash out against Christians in retaliation for attacks against Muslims, said Abel and his wife, Hina, who came to Lincoln with their two-year-old son, Obed.

The extremist reaction will go beyond the Christians in Pakistan, Hina Abel said. "Wherever Christians are living in a Muslim country, there will be a backlash."

Both said they have experienced discrimination all their lives because of their Christian faith. The nation of 145 million people is 95 percent Muslim and only 2percent to 3 percent Christian.

Although the government officially protects churches, Christians face discrimination in employment, housing and education, they said. In addition, Christians are afraid to profess their faith openly for fear of being found in violation of the blasphemy law, which makes it a capital offense to say or do things that "offend the Muslim faith." [more]