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Religious Intolerance in Pakistan: From American Drones to Taliban Attacks

In Pakistan, Christians are a minority. Most recently the small group has experienced the realities of religious intolerance. Roughly 80 people died back in September when a bomb was set off outside a Christian church.   

MSGR. JOSEPH COUTTS 

Archbishop of Karachi (Pakistan) 

"With the American's war in Afghanistan we are suffering from the fall out of this war that is going on in our neighboring country. Refugees are coming in, there are three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. And then, this extremist militarizing form of Islam that the Taliban is propagating: Jihad, or Holy War... That is also beginning to come now into Pakistan.â? 

The Archbishop of Karachi says that in Pakistan members of the Taliban are the targets of American drones. This creates resentment against the West and since Christianity is often seen as something of the West, Islamic extremists justify their attacks against Christians

MSGR. JOSEPH COUTTS 

Archbishop of Karachi (Pakistan) 

"So the West is Christian, we are Pakistani Christians so you are one. So if you attack Christians Pakistan then American will stop using the drone aircraft. And they have said it, they have said it, 'we will attack more churches'. So it's something very dangerous, what they have said is dangerous.â? 

Even though Pakistan is a Democratic country, Christians are considered second class citizens. Discrimination limits their work prospects and their influence in the country's political and cultural matters. 

MSGR. JOSEPH COUTTS 

Archbishop of Karachi (Pakistan) 

"It's not easy for a Christian to reach the top. In fact our constitution says very clearly: the head of the country has to be Muslim. So a Christian for example cannot became the president of Pakistan.â? 

With a Muslim majority, the country's Christian population is quite small. According to Aid to the Church in Need, only about 3 percent are Christian. The Archbishop of Karachi who also serves as the president of Pakistan's Episcopal Conference is worried about the effects this tension will have in the country's Christian population, especially its younger generation. 

JRB/KLH 

MG/Aid to the Church in Need

VM

-PR 

Up:RCA