Seven Pakistani Christians Killed in Attack on Charity

Troops arrive to protect missionary children trapped in Ivory Coast school

Most recent attack on Pakistan's Christians leaves seven dead, two critically injured
In January 1999, Catholic priest Arnold Heredia told Time magazine that Christians in Pakistan were under terrible attack. "It is a religious apartheid," he said. At the time, he was executive secretary of the Institution for Peace and Justice in Karachi. Two years later, no longer the executive secretary for the organization, Heredia was arrested (and eventually released) for peacefully protesting Pakistan's blasphemy law.

If 1999 saw religious apartheid in Pakistan, 2002 is seeing the beginnings of religious genocide. Two men yesterday entered the Institution for Peace and Justice in Karachi, tied and gagged the employees, and shot seven of them in the head at point-blank range. Two others workers were severely beaten. All seven murder victims were Pakistani Christians. Several reportedly lived in very poor neighborhoods. (The BBC has photos and video.)

It's unclear how the attackers got into the offices of the charity, which is guarded by an electronic door that can be opened only from the inside.

"It seems that nobody except Muslims will live in Pakistan," Salim Khursheed Khokhar of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance told Reuters. "Fundamentalism is taking root in Pakistan, and Christians' places of worships and welfare institutes are being targeted one after the other."

The Associated Press reports, "Within hours of the killings about 400 mostly Christian demonstrators marched on the Governor's House in Karachi, demanding the arrest of the perpetrators and protection from the government" and shouting, "Stop religious terrorism."

But it may not stop. "Police found maps of two churches and a Christian school, along with weapons and explosives, ...

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