Pakistani Christians celebrate Easter quietly: “If we celebrate it with a fanfare, we fear somebody might get annoyed and attack us”
Somebody! Maybe militant Rotarians.
Dhimmis — primarily Jews and Christians under the “protection” of the Islamic state — are “forbidden to…recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feastdays” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o11.5(6)).
“Low-key Easter preparations for Pakistan’s Christians,” by Kamran Haider for Reuters, April 24:
GOJRA, Pakistan (Reuters) – Christians in the small Pakistani town of Gojra are making low-key preparations for Easter this year.
Residents of the neighbourhood, known as Christian Colony, in the town in Punjab province, are haunted by memories of a 2009 attack by a Muslim mob in which seven members of a family were killed and dozens of houses torched.
A few days before Easter, which Christians believe marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion, bare-foot children played cricket in the town’s dusty alleys while some men chatted on a bench under a tree.
“If we celebrate it with a fanfare, we fear somebody might get annoyed and attack us,” said Khalid Anjum, 45, the owner of a small snooker hall.
The only sign of the approach of Easter was a few young men rehearsing hymns in St. Mary’s Catholic Church….
The independent Human Rights Commission said at least 100 people from minority communities were killed in 2010. The bloodiest attack was on Ahmadis, a sect that mainstream Muslims consider heretical, when 86 people were killed.
This year, the liberal Muslim governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, and Christian Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, were killed in separate shootings for speaking out against a blasphemy law aimed at defending Islam.
Under the law, anyone who speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad commits a crime and faces the death penalty but human rights activists say the law’s vague wording has led to its misuse, often against members of minority religions.
Compounding a climate of fear, Islamist militants, angered by Pakistan’s alliance with the United States since 2001, have carried periodic attacks on minorities as part of a campaign to destabilise the state.
“FEAR IN THEIR HEARTS”
In Gojra’s Christian Colony, the level of fear has increased since the sentencing Monday of a Muslim to death for shooting dead two Christians who had been accused of blasphemy.
Rather then welcoming what some people might see as justice, Christians fear that if the sentence is carried out, it will only mean more trouble for them.
“Things will only get worse. If one is punished, someone else will stand up to take revenge for him,” said housewife Shahida Kashif.
“My kids still get scared whenever there’s a small disturbance. They says ‘mother, they’ve come. They’ll set fire to our houses again’. They still have fear in their hearts,” she said, referring to memories of the 2009 riot.
“Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies…” — Qur’an 8:60
A mob of about 1,000 Muslims, incensed by rumours that a Christian had desecrated the Koran, rampaged through the neighborhood, firing guns and throwing petrol bombs.
Hameed Pannum Khan was shot dead and six members of his family, including two women and two children, were burnt to death when their hut was torched….