3 Pakistani Churches Attacked This Week

Local Christians Seek Increased Security for Easter

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RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, MARCH 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- On Monday night, six men attacked a Catholic church in Rawalpindi, the third aggression of its type in the past week.

The church of St. Thomas was attacked around 6:30 p.m. by a group of armed men who threw rocks at the lamps and windows and set fire to the door, Fides reported.

The local pastor, Father Yusaf Amanat, was warned by an attendant who heard the noise.

Bishop Anthony Rufin of Islamabad-Rawalpindi appeared on the scene shortly after the incident, met with police and appealed for more protection for churches.

The prelate affirmed, “I was able to comfort and console the faithful in this time of suffering.”

He continued: “We, as pastors, are called to be close to our community. Therefore, as the bishops of Pakistan, we have written a joint pastoral letter to encourage our people to remain firm in faith and hope.

“We continue to trust in God and in the Pakistani institutions.”

The news agency noted that the local Christians leaders of Rawalpindi met recently with the police in order to discuss security measures during the Easter season.

A source who remained anonymous told Fides that this attack was “an indication of a climate of intimidation against religious minorities.”

He added: “The extremists look for pretexts to attack Christians.

“We live in a state of insecurity, fear and suffering. The government should bring these issues to the top of its agenda.”

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ZENIT Staff

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