Muslims in Pakistan formed a human shield Sunday at a church in Lahore to protect Christians from terrorist attacks. It was the second such demonstration in the past week, following a similar display of Muslim-Christian unity in Karachi.
Christians, many of them poor, form a tiny minority in Pakistan, making up about 3 percent of the Muslim-dominated country’s 180 million population. Recently, terrorist groups have targeted the Christian minority in what one such group says is a protest against United States drone strikes in the country.
On Sept. 22, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a church in Peshawar, killing more than 80 people and injuring about 130 more. A group calling itself Jundullah claimed responsibility for the bombings, saying that it would continue to target non-Muslims in Pakistan until drone strikes ceased.
“The terrorists showed us what they do on Sundays,” said Mohammed Jibran Nasir, organizer of the human-chain protest. “Here we are showing them what we do on Sundays. We unite.”
At the center of the chain, Muslim cleric Mufti Mohammad Farooq linked hands with the priest at St. Anthony’s Church in Lahore, Father Nasir Gulfam.
The anti-terrorism protesters carried signs reading “Many faiths, one God” and “One Nation, One Blood.” The protest was organized by a group called Pakistan For All.
The Sunday service inside the church, attended by Muslims as well as Christians, was dedicated to prayers for victims of the Sept. 22 attacks.
“I see no reason why our politicians and our leaders should not come out of their houses, leave the luxury of their secure homes and stand in solidarity with the common man,” Nasir said.
Sources: The Express Tribune, AhlulBayt News Agency, Daily Times