In America, Churches May Be Closed on Christmas, but in Pakistan, They May Be Bombed

In a tribal village in India during the season of preparation for Advent on a late November night, a mob attacked more than 100 of the community’s Christians. About 50 people armed with homemade weapons targeted Christians in the Sukma district of India’s Chhattisgarh state, burning Bibles and destroying property in the early hours of Nov. 25.

For these humble Christian villagers — like so many other persecuted believers around the world — the Christmas season is a time of heightened persecution and fear. For some Christians living in India’s rural areas, associating with holiday festivities can make them targets. . .

Indian Christians are not the only ones fearing increased persecution around the holidays. Christians in neighboring Pakistan also have cause for concern at Christmastime. Sudden bursts of mob violence fomented by Islamists are a risk for Pakistani Christians, a small minority making up less than 3 percent of that country’s population.

Dec. 25 is a public holiday in Pakistan, but it celebrates the birth of the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, rather than the Son of God. Major Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter can inspire attacks against churches in Pakistan.

This issue is so widespread that security forces deployed to protect churches and Christmas celebrations last December. More than 1,000 police officers protected Christian houses of worship in Islamabad alone. While it is good that Pakistani officials took this step, the fact that it was necessary is a clear indication of the risks of being a Christian and celebrating Christian holidays in Pakistan. (Read more from “In America, Churches May Be Closed on Christmas, but in Pakistan, They May Be Bombed” HERE)

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