Attacks on Christians
In eastern Pakistan yesterday, three girls, aged 6, 10, and 15, were killed when two assailants tossed grenades into the Christmas service of a tiny church. At least 13 people were injured by the terrorists, who entered the church dressed in burqas.
Associated Press reports that most of the 40 people at the worship service 40 miles outside of Lahore in the Punjab province were women and children.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Protestant church in Daska, but police have detained four men. One of those detained is a local Muslim cleric, who just days before made threats toward Christians in a sermon. According to the Associated Press, he said, "It is the duty of every good Muslim to kill Christians. You should attack Christians and not even have food until you have seen their dead bodies."
Both the cleric and his son belong to a banned anti-India group, Jaish-e-Mohammed. A spokesman for the group denies that it had any connection to the bombing.
Suspicions are also centering on a church security guard who was not at his post during the service. He is in police custody and is being questioned.
Christian churches in Pakistan were on high alert before the attack in Daska because of high religious tensions in the country. Security concerns were increased earlier yesterday when a bag of bullets and bombs were found near a major Islamabad church. Services there were reportedly not cancelled.
Bloodshed and threats of violence also marked the Christmas holiday in India and Yugoslavia.
Fifty armed men seized a church in the Indian state of West Bengal on Christmas Eve where more than 1,000 worshippers had gathered for a midnight service. The attackers robbed hundreds and injured a priest and ...1