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Osama bin Laden’s death: watch out for revenge attacks on Christians

ICC Note

Christians in Pakistan could be targeted by Muslim persecution following the killing of Osama bin Laden. One Christian leader said,“We are a soft target as they cannot attack America. We demand security; the government should control any retaliation.”
By Damian Thompson
05/02/2011 Pakistan (The Telegraph)-It is a huge relief for the Western world to learn that Osama bin Laden has been killed – but already, and quite justifiably, Christian leaders in countries with large Islamic populations have issued warnings to local Christians to be on their guard. Small congregations in Muslim societies are an easy target for Islamists, who are already engaged in an international campaign of violent intimidation against Christians. And let us not forget that the 9/11 attacks themselves were partly motivated by hatred of Christianity.

The former head of the Catholic Church in Pakistan has just issued this statement. Note, however, that he is quite clear that, in the long run, the death of bin Laden is a hopeful sign for his country:

Pakistani Christians could suffer a backlash after the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, a former head of the Catholic Church in the country told today.

“We are a soft target as they cannot attack America. We demand security; the government should control any retaliation,” Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore said.

He was hopeful that the killing of world’s most wanted terrorist will reduce the militant radicalism that has engulfed Pakistan in recent years.

The West has paid little attention to the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries, and especially in Pakistan, recipient of so much – too much – British aid. (The Foreign Office and DfID have appeared shamefully ignorant of what is going on.) Now we must watch closely. Just last night, before the news about Obama broke, Pakistani police in Gujranwala had to intervene to stop a crowd of arsonists attacking a church after rumours that a copy of the Koran had been burned.

This problem isn’t going to go away; but it would help if we were at least aware of it.

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