Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Christians Fear Backlash

ISTANBUL, July 4 (Compass Direct News) – Just weeks after the release of 16 Christians kidnapped by the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Islam in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, a government clampdown on extremist groups in the region has left Christians and locals fearing a backlash. On June 21, some 16 Christians were kidnapped in broad daylight in Peshawar’s affluent neighborhood of Academy Town in the North West Frontier Province.

Militants burst into the compound where the group was worshiping and violently pulled the men into vans along with the Muslim renter of the compound. The Pakistan People’s Party government, in power since February, acted swiftly, ensuring the release of the Christian captives within 10 hours and drawing an apology from the militant group. But the local Christian community is unsure of the sincerity of the apology, and they fear the new government’s military offensive could invite retaliation. Ashar Dean, assistant director of communication of the Church of Pakistan Peshawar diocese, told Compass, “The situation in Peshawar remains tense, and all the security agencies are on standby.”

Source: Compass Direct News

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