Legalized Persecution in Pakistan

Apr 04, 2003 11:13 AM EST

As Operation Iraqi Freedom blazes through Iraq, leaders around the world fear an onslaught of religious wars and retaliations. Religious leaders in Pakistan report increasing anti-Christian rhetoric in mosques and in the streets as demonstrators gather against President Bush and Christian Americans.

"Tension and fear are increasing day by day. Please pray that our Heavenly Father will give us wisdom and courage to face this situation," said a Christian Aid Mission ministers in Pakistan.

Sermons against the War echo within the walls of Pakistani mosques, stirring unrest among Muslim extremists. According to the CAM correspondent Islamic sermons are often entitled, “War Against Islam,” and “War Between Truth and Evil.”

Christians in the nation fear such anti-Christian, anti-Bush and anti-American rhetoric may spark an attack against the small Christian community within the nation. However, they are more wary of a legalized form of persecution that may arise in Pakistan. If the Provincial Assembly passes the Islamic Shariah Act, the nation will be run under the laws outlined in the Quran and Sunnah – the holy books of the prophet Mohammed.

The new legislation, if implemented, will dictate all future legislation and legal reforms; Christians fear the Act may require strict adherence to Muslim practices, thus jeopardizing the political, cultural, economic, social and religious rights of all non-Muslim citizens in Pakistan.

"Pakistan's Christians...are already in enough danger from extremists, but this legislation, if implemented, will further jeopardize their already difficult and often dangerous position," said Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

By Pauline J.