Pakistan (BBC/ICC/VOM/ODM) — The Christian community in Lahore, Pakistan, exploded Sunday after suicide bombers attacked two churches during morning services.
After the bombings, angry Christians began smashing windows and blocking traffic in Lahore. The mob also killed two people suspected of involvement in the attacks.
Christians make up only about 1%-2% of Pakistan’s population, but some analysts say they account for up to 10% of Lahore’s population. Although the constitution guarantees religious freedom, due to the misuse of the country’s blasphemy laws, tensions have been steadily increasing over the last five years. The law stipulates that any person who defiles the name of the prophet Muhammad or the Quran may be punished by life in prison or death.
According to the Voice of the Martyrs USA, churches in Pakistan are frequently vandalized. The largest attack against the Christian community in Pakistan’s history occurred in September 2013 when Islamist suicide bombers attacked the All Saints Church in Peshawar between church services, killing over 80 Christians and injuring hundreds more.
VOM supported extensive medical assistance for the victims of that attack. Christians in Pakistan are beaten, raped, abducted and murdered with impunity. Christians also face discrimination in employment and education, keeping them entrenched in the lower classes. The ministry also supports significant Bible distributions throughout the country–particularly for children–as well as evangelistic outreach efforts in the country’s frontier regions.
Pakistan ranks #8 on the 2014 Open Doors USA World Watch List. It’s a rise from 2013 when it ranked #14. The ministry attributes the increase in persecution partly to actual increased level of violence, but also due to partly to a sharp increase in a hostile attitude of society towards Christians.
Their team members ask that we please keep praying against the agenda of the Taliban and other groups who are now openly making their case for the implementation of Sharia Law saying, “We greatly appreciate your prayers at this time.”