Pakistani Christians and their supporters held a two-hour peaceful demonstration outside the Pakistani Consulate north of Toronto March 20. Register file photo

Pakistani Christians take to the streets

By  Catholic Register Special
  • March 22, 2015

VAUGHAN, ONT. - About 100 Pakistani Christians and supporters held a peaceful demonstration outside the Pakistani Consulate north of Toronto on Mar. 20 in response to the deadly bombing four days earlier of two churches in Lahore, Pakistan.

During the two-hour demonstration, men, women and children waved placards, sang and prayed in both English and Urdu.

According to a spokesman, the Pakistani Christian community is “frustrated” by the Pakistani government’s treatment of its Christian minority. Protesters believe the government treats its Christians as third-class citizens, discriminating against them in jobs, legal disputes and providing insufficient security against factions within the overwhelmingly Muslim majority in a country ruled by Sharia Law.

Christians are often subjected to attacks and have little recourse through the justice system, the protesters claimed.

They also denounced the country’s blasphemy laws, which can result in the death penalty for anyone convicted of blaspheming Islam or the prophet Mohammed.

Seventeen people died and more than 70 were injured in the Mar. 16 bombings of a Catholic and an Anglican church that are a few hundred metres apart in a Christian neighbourhood of Lahore. The explosions were detonated by Taliban suicide bombers who were stopped by volunteer security guards outside the churches.

The bombings touched off riots by local Christians who are upset that the Pakistani government has not kept a promise to protect religious minorities.

Pope Francis condemned the bombings and accused the world of “trying to hide” the world-wide persecution of Christians.

“These are Christian churches: Christians are being persecuted,” the Pope said. “Our brothers’ and sisters’ blood is shed only because they are Christians.”

The Pope prayed that “this persecution against Christians, which the world tries to hide, might end, and that there be peace.”

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