The religious parties which run these institutions are behind most of the acts of terror against Christians in Pakistan." Bishop John Joseph also brought this fact to the attention of the West through his talks, writings and in every possible means. His efforts, including his suicide, were not able to persuade the West to do something against the atmosphere of terror in Pakistan.
I suggested in my latest letter, a few weeks before the attack, to find ways to stop the flow of money from the West to those organizations in Pakistan which preach hatred and violate the human rights of minorities openly. Militants/ fundamentalists in Pakistan talk against the United States. Actually, they are against Christians.
The attack of terrorists on New York and Washington has created a serious problem for Christian in Pakistan. I would like to bring to your attention an article published in The Ottawa Sun of September 24, 2001 by Matthew Fisher on
"Several Pakistani Christians were beaten and their homes burned here last Thursday in reprisal for assaults on Muslims in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom since Osma bin Laden was named the chief suspect in the murderous assaults in New York and Washington.
"One unconfirmed report yesterday said a Christian had died from injuries suffered in the attack in Rawalpindi (Pakistan). The assaults and calls by a mullah (Muslim clergy) in the city at prayers last Friday for Muslims here to kill two Christians for every Muslim that is killed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan has caused immense anxiety among Pakistan's four million Christians."
Mr. Fisher quoting Christians in Pakistan says:
"There are always tensions between Muslims and Christians here. Right now we are all afraid. It's all me and my friends talk about now, said 21-year old Maria Gill as she left the church. Maria's 30-year old brother, Shahid Joseph Gill, added: the fundamentalist element is here and the mullahs (Muslim clergy) are using the news reports about what is happening to Muslims elsewhere."
John Nevin, an Urdu-speaking Irish priest told Mr. Fisher "When we go and visit people in their homes they ask us what is going to happen," Nevin said. "They are unsettled because at this time there is great unity in the Muslim community." One of the Christians tells him that "If this volcanoerupts, who can stop it
I have been writing and lecturing around in my own limited way to inform concerned souls about the possibility of an impending genocide of Christians in Pakistan. While I was pondering on this article by Mr. Matthew Fisher in the Ottawa Sun, I received a letter from Pakistan by Mr. Shehbaz Bhatti, president of Christian Liberation Front. For your information, I am quoting this disturbing letter here partly We sorrowfully condemn the heinous acts of terrorism in which thousands of innocent people became targets of terrorists in WTC and pentagon. We lament on such a great loss of human lives and pray for the departed souls and for the bereaved families.
After the attack on WTC and Pentagon and after the American President's declaration of war against terrorism, the atmosphere of interfaith disharmony has further intensified in Pakistan. The fanatic Islamists here are ascribing the war against terrorism as war against Islam. With the wrongful interpretation of the word Crusade against terrorism the hardline Muslims are taking it as a war between Muslims and Christians. Under these circumstances anti-American and anti- Christian feelings are given much air.
There are strong apprehensions that after the attack on Afghanistan, uslim versus Christians rivalry will increase and well_trained and more powerful Muslim militants equipped with modern weapons will target the poor Christian populace and hence there will be genocide of Christian
masses in Pakistan. We apprehend ferocious assaults on our churches and schools as well. The Muslim clerics through decrees, are further worsening the situation. They are motivating the Muslim fanatics to wage a Holy war (Jihad) against the non_ Muslims whom they label as infidels.
The common Christian people of Pakistan who already are marginalized are much perturbed in this ghastly scenario and find themselves helpless, weak and frightful. Christian Liberation Front Pakistan (CLF), a representative body of the non_Muslim minority communities of Pakistan, in the first place, assures its fullest cooperation to the International Coalition against terrorism. We are with the American government and the American people in their war against terrorism.
We also on behalf of the Christian masses of Pakistan tender our appeal in these difficult times because we, the Christians of Pakistan, will be a direct target of terrorist forces who will prey upon us in the name of religion.
Part of the appeal that Mr. Bhatti adds is listed below:
That after the attack on terrorists in Afghanistan, arrangements should be made to protect the Christian masses of Pakistan from expected genocide, threatened to be carried out by the fanatic
That authorities in government of Pakistan be asked to take special measures so that Christian pockets and Churches be specially guarded by the government agencies.
That Christian in the West and Christian in the East should exhibit more solidarity so that Jesus Christ our saviour be glorified in all circumstances.
As vice president of the South Asian Christian Association (a national organization) and editor of South Asian Christian Diary, I would request the governments of Canada, the United States and every concerned business and institution in the West that while granting any assistance to Pakistan, especially financial, please do not forget to urge the Pakistan Government to assure the safety of the lives and properties of 3 percent Christians, peaceful citizens of Pakistan. This timely help would save several children to be orphans; several mothers to be childless; several teen-age girls to be kidnapped and raped and forced to be Muslim; several churches to be razed to the ground; and several more seeds of hatred to be sown in the soil which is already growing the shrubs of religious intolerance and terror.
Be not skeptical about this impending genocide. Christians have been targeted in the past and they are being targeted even now. They pay for the events which happen in other countries and which have nothing to do with them. Here are some incidents that I take from my detailed study, titled A Saga of Persecution of Christians in Pakistan.
Extremists have a strange way to take revenge for anything that happens against Muslims anywhere in the world. The Christians of Pakistan become the victims of their wrath even if the happening has nothing to do with them. The fanatics attacked churches in Karachi and a Christian school in Multan when they protested against the Satanic Verses of Rushdie, though Christians have nothing to do with Rushdie or his book Satanic
Verses. A non-Christian writes a book; another non-Christian sets a price on the head of the writer. Rushdie does not exalt Christianity in his book. To take revenge on the Christians of Pakistan does not make any sense.
Another act of violence which does not make any sense took place when the Hindus destroyed the Babari Masjid in Ayodhya, India. The student wing of a religio-political party of Muslims in Peshawar, Pakistan, held a demonstration against the destruction on the 10th of November of 1990.
They took revenge on the Christians for an action that had absolutely nothing to do with Christians. The fanatics attacked St. John's Church and The Sacred Heart Church in Keamari in Karachi. Fr. Bruno Sequeira was brutally beaten. The mob tried to throw him in a fire made from the pews.
During the Arab-Israeli War, the Muslim students damaged the properties of Christian schools in Pakistan. During the Persian Gulf war protests in Pakistan in early 1991, a few Christian localitieswere threatened and attacked. The Christians were accused of siding with America.
The situation in Pakistan is even worse now for Christians. The attack on September 11 on New York and Washington was the work of Islamic terrorists, as per the media. Among the dead included a considerable number of Muslims. Meover, the war against terrorism was launched by both Muslim and non-Muslim nations. It has nothing to do directly with the Christians in Pakistan. The nations which are against terrorism include Muslim nations, like Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries. The United States and other Western democracies have clearly declared that their war is not against Islam.
The media in Pakistan is giving this war a religious color. Fundamentalists paint it as a crusade against Islam. Mullahs (Muslim clergy) are giving sermons in their mosques to arm themselves against Christians. One or two have gone to the extent of saying that they will kill two Christians in Pakistan for every Muslim killed in Afghanistan by the United States or elsewhere.
Considering the past events in Pakistan, considering the role of Muslim clergy, considering the education level of the country, also considering a crop of religious robots that the Islamic Shools have produced, and the influence of Talabans, threat for a genocide of Christians is real.
It is the right time for the Western democracies to take proper measures in two areas before it
is too late. One area is the nuclear installations of Pakistan. There is every possibility for the nuclear material to be stolen or sold to wrong persons in the climate of chaos that would be created by the enemies inside and outside of Pakistan. Another area relates to Christians who are going to be easy targets again. Both areas are co-related. If there is genocide of Christians, there would be chaos and anything is possible under that atmosphere. That would be worse for everyone, including the democracies in the West.