Watch Where In The World to hear Wilson Chowdhry of British Pakistani Christian’s explain what can be done to help protect Pakistani Christians
This Christmas season Christians in Pakistan and Egypt are on high alert. They are asking their governments to help provide tightened security for worship services.
Just last Sunday, two Islamic terrorists attacked the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan killing nine Christians as they worshipped. A security officer shot and killed one of the gunmen, the other terrorist fired into the church just moments before detonating a suicide vest.The Islamic State of Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.
Appearing on The Global Lane, Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christians Association said the Pakistani government has done little to protect churches despite ongoing pleas for help from Christians who have warned that their churches are especially vulnerable to attacks at Christmas and Easter.
“It doesn’t matter what the government says. Unless they put men with semi-automatic machine guns at the entrances of these churches ensuring that these parishioners are protected, nothing else will suffice,” he insisted.
Islamic extremists have attacked several Christian celebrations and services in recent years.
On Easter Sunday 2016, 75 people—many of them women and children were killed when an Islamic extremist affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban exploded a suicide bomb at the entrance of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore. Christians often visit the popular park after attending worship services.
Also in Lahore, the same Taliban-affiliated group—Jamaat-ul-Ahar claimed responsibility for the simultaneous bombings of two churches three weeks before Easter in March 2015. At least 15 Christians were killed in those attacks.
Last April in Egypt, Islamic State militants killed at least 44 Coptic Orthodox Christians as they attended Palm Sunday services at two separate churches—one at St. George’s Church in Tanta, and another one at St. Mark’s in Alexandria.
And last Christmas, 24 Christians were killed in a terrorist attack at St. Paul’s Church in Cairo.
That attack struck at the heart of Egypt’s Coptic Church. St. Paul’s is adjacent to St. Mark’s Cathedral, the home of Pope Tawadros II. The pope was unhurt in the incident because he was traveling out of the country at the time of the attack.
Islamic terrorists have also targeted Christians in Kenya for attack; however, none of the recent incidents occurred during Christmas or Easter services. Al-Shabab terrorists opened fire on a church in the port city of Mombassa just two weeks before Easter 2014.
Christians in India are also a bit uneasy this Christmas just days after Hindu militants harassed and beat two priests and 32 seminarians in Madyha Pradesh.
The Christians were assaulted as they sang Christmas carols. Some of them escaped and sought protection at a local police station, but once there, police arrested the Christians and charged six of them with forcibly converting a Hindu man.
The men denied they had forcibly converted anyone to the Christian faith, but their accuser insisted he had been dipped in a river to “wash away my sins.”
But Chowdhry says the man’s accusation is absurd.
“The strange thing is this is a Catholic community that we’re talking about. Catholics don’t use full water immersion.”
The charges against a priest and five others remain. They’ll be forced to stand trial possibly in early 2018.