Last week, reports the Chicago Tribune, a mob in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, attacked five Christian families in their homes. A Christian restaurant owner was beaten to death after Muslim customers refused to pay, telling him, "Take your payment from America." The situation is already dire for Pakistani Christians—and it's about to get worse.
"The Christians are very scared," Capt. Mark Rahim, a Roman Catholic serving in the Pakistani army, tells the Tribune. "There are certain groups, certain people—they are small in number but they are very much here—and they are trying to portray this as some kind of war between Christians and Muslims, and under the circumstances it will be very hard for the Christians here to survive."
The threats are already starting to come. Irish priest John Nevin, based in Islamabad, tells the London Independent, "We heard that a mullah in Rawalpindi was warned by the police after telling his followers that for every Muslim killed in Afghanistan, they should pick off two Christians here."
"We started to have problems already on Sept. 11," Shafeek Masih of Nawan Kili tells the Los Angeles Times. "When my mother and sister came out of our house, there were young students there who were throwing rocks at them and using words of abuse. … They said, 'If America attacks Afghanistan, we will kill you.'"
The Tribune's Tom Hundley explains that much of this recent animosity toward Christians stems from media incitement, which has heavily reported on attacks against Muslims and mosques in the United States. "President Bush's visit to a mosque and his condemnation of attacks on Arab-Americans and Muslims received some coverage, but not as much as his use of the word ...1