Fears of a genuine “backlash.” By Jennifer Gold for ChristianToday (thanks to Twostellas):
Christian representatives in Pakistan are calling for urgent prayer to prevent a feared backlash against Christians following clashes between security forces and Islamist militants in the capital.
At least seven people have died after a tense standoff erupted into violence at the Lal Masjid mosque in the capital Islamabad. The mosque is linked with two Madrassas (Islamic schools).
Militant students have been calling for strict Islamic law and have been accused of carrying out kidnappings in the area. They are armed with assault rifles, sticks and petrol bombs.
Persecution watchdog Release International has been told by its contacts that thousands of extremists have been drawn to the mosque, including women and children who are calling for a jihad. They warn that if the authorities continue shooting they will start suicide bombing across Pakistan.
Partners of Release International, which serves the persecuted church worldwide, fear that the anger of militants will spill over into attacks against the Christian community. They are calling for prayer.
“Whenever there is any incident against Muslims, Christians are always held liable,” says a spokesman for CLAAS, the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement. “The Christians of Pakistan are in serious need of prayer.”