Peshawar massacre not isolated


Last week there were two major attacks by Muslim extremists—one in Nairobi, Kenya, and the other in Peshawar, Pakistan.

The first received worldwide attention. The second, which targeted Pakistani Christians, was barely noticed.

It was the worst atrocity committed against Christians in Pakistan's entire history. Two Muslim suicide bombers entered All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar, and slaughtered around 80 Christians and maimed many more as they worshipped God and praised Jesus.

Archbishop Cranmer explains why this was not an isolated attack, but part of an ongoing campaign.

Christians routinely have their houses burned, their schools and hospitals destroyed, and their churches desecrated and vandalised. In Pakistan, it is not uncommon for entire Christian families to be burned to death inside their houses. The crime is allegedly 'blasphemy' against Islam - invariably baseless, but the summary punishment is meted out by a baying horde - sometimes thousands strong - and there is no mercy from the clubs, sticks and stones.

Christian towns and villages in Pakistan are being reduced to slums; poverty is endemic. Children are poorly educated (except in the private schools) and local politicians are corrupt. And this includes some of the Christian leaders, who have little concern for social welfare, security, justice or human rights.

Christians in Pakistan are hunted by complete strangers and haunted by fear. Muslims dare not convert or intermarry with Christians on pain of death. The pulpits whisper their sermons for fear of upsetting the mosques, and the graveyards are filling. There is social segregation, economic hardship and political disenfranchisement. Abduction and forced conversion to Islam are commonplace - especially among young girls. These are rarely reported to the police for fear of the consequences.