Christians have been dragged out of their cars and beaten, and said they are “haunted” with fear of Islamic radicals as the blasphemy case of Christian mother Asia Bibi tears Pakistan apart.
Romana Bashir, a Christian rights activist in Islamabad, said in an interview with CNN that blasphemy laws have been used to target followers of Christ in the Muslim country for years, but the fallout of Bibi’s acquittal has been truly severe.
Hardliners have blocked the streets, burned cars, and rioted through cities, angry at what they perceive to be the Pakistan Supreme Court’s giving in to pressure by deciding to free the Christian mother, instead of confirming her 2010 death sentence.
Peter Jacob, the executive director for the Center for Social Justice in Lahore, said that there have been cases where rioters have asked people in cars to tell them their religion. If they were found to be Christian, “they were taken out of their cars and beaten up.”
He warned that “the mental and psychological scars” that the Christian community are suffering will endure in the “current climate of fear.”
Large-scale Islamic radical attacks in Pakistan have decreased in the past year, though some church-going believers, such as those at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Rawalpindi, have admitted that they are constantly having to be careful.
One gatekeeper at St Joseph, who didn’t wish to share his name, said that he is “grateful for the presence of the military close to the church,” but that the sense of fear has “begun to haunt him” since Bibi’s acquittal.
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Source: Christian Post