Pakistan's rural churches can't protect themselves
There have been several arrests of those behind recent attacks on the nation's Christians, but most Pakistani believers are convinced that the assaults will continue. "[The extremists] say, 'Americans are Christian, the West is Christian, so let's kill Christians here in retaliation,'" Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, says in the current issue of Newsweek. The magazine also notes that Christians are now arming themselves.
They may have guns, but they don't have much hope of keeping Muslim terrorists from attacking their churches. "While armed police and private security guards are on duty outside Christian schools and churches in the cities, no protection can be offered to those in the remote reaches of Pakistan," reports the British Daily Telegraph. That's problematic, because those rural churches are also the poorest and can't afford to hire their own security. "It's not possible. The money isn't there," Anthony Lobo, the Catholic Bishop of Rawalpindi, tells the paper. "We can't afford them [guards]. We are spending all our money on keeping the parishes and the schools. … We are struggling to pay the teachers without having to pay guards as well."
Don't expect any major capital campaigns from within the churches, either. "There are no rich Christians," Lobo explains. "There are no industrialists, top bureaucrats, or feudal lords. There are no top people in the army and air force. Christians are all lower middle class or poor and destitute people. When you talk about the Christian community here, you are talking about the margins of society."
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