Christians believe they will be targets in a growing Muslim backlash against the United States' war on terrorism. After a September anti-American demonstration in Rawalpindi, a mob dragged members of five Christian families from their homes and beat them. On October 28, 17 protestants were massacred during their Sunday morning church service.

"Anti-Christian sentiments run high, as Pakistanis view Americans, and especially the U.S. President, as Christians," says a missionary to Pakistan's Parsee minority.

Shahbaz Bhatti, president of the Christian Liberation Front Pakistan, a human-rights organization, expects "ferocious assaults" against Pakistani Christians, churches, and schools.

Muslims constitute 96 percent of Pakistan's 156 million people; Christians, 2 percent.

Ecumenical News International reports that some Christians are expressing solidarity with Muslims. But it also reports that several churches now have armed guards.

The Evangelical Alliance Mission, in Pakistan since the nation's founding in 1947, has evacuated its 26 adults and 20 children, leaving ministries in the hands of Pakistani Christians.

The Murree Christian School for missionaries' children has been closed, with a reopening scheduled for February. Meanwhile, the Pakistan and Afghanistan offices of Church World Service, the aid agency of the National Council of Churches, remain open. Workers are attempting to help a new flood of refugees from Afghanistan.

Related Elsewhere

Also appearing on our site today:
Radical Muslims Massacre 17 Protestants | Six masked gunmen spray bullets into a Church of Pakistan Sunday service. (October 30, 2001)

See yesterday's Christianity Today article on the Pakistan shooting that left at least 16 Christians dead October 28.

Media coverage of the October 28 shooting includes:

Christians massacred in Pakistan — BBC
Gunmen Kill 16 at Pakistan Church — Associated Press
Pope Says Pakistan Church Attack an 'Evil Act' — Reuters
'Trained terrorists' behind Pakistan church slayings — BBC
Congregation Mourns Slain Christians — Associated Press
Pakistan tightens church securityChristian Science Monitor
Slain Christians mourned in Pakistan — BBC
Pakistan unrest sparks concernsUSA Today
At least 16 Gunned Down in Pakistani ChurchWashington Post
Pakistani Christians Mourn Friends — Associated Press

For more articles on Pakistan tensions and the recent shooting, see Yahoo! full coverage.

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