While Americans debate the appropriateness of allowing the Muslim community to build a Mosque near ground zero, Christains continue to suffer open, legal persecution in Pakistan and many other Muslim countries around the globe.
At 4 am on September 19, 2010, Muslim extremists forced entry into a Christain Church located in Karachi City, Pakistan burning Bibles, crosses and other instruments of worship. The attack on the church came just days after an American pastor threatened burning of the Muslim Quaran. The Christain community in Pakistan protested the assault of the church by displaying a banner and calling for prayers of support from believers world-wide.
The plight of Christains in Pakistan and other Muslim governed countries is difficult to fathom, for those who live in countries like the US, which allow for religous freedom. Pakistan is one of 40 countries around the world which have laws allowing for the arrest, imprisonment, torture and even execution of those who speak against the religous majority.
Currently two Arab Christains are held in prison in Pakistan, Asia Bibi and Imran Gharfur, both arrested in 2009. Asia Bibi was first beaten by a group of Muslim women for speaking openly about her religous beliefs. The women, who were trying to persuade her to convert to the Muslim religion, brutally attacked her when she refused. She was then arrested and now faces blasphemy charges.
A second Pakistani Christain, Imran Ghafur, was burning trash when a neighbor accused him of burning pages of the Quran. The news swept through Hajwari, where Imran lives. In spite of his adamant denials both he and his father were brutally beaten and imprisoned. According to PrisonerAlert.com local citizens gathered outside the police station, hurling stones and demanding that Imran put be put to death. “Give the death sentence to him who disgraces the Holy Quran, and hang him who disgraces the Holy Quran,” the Muslims said. “Christians are dogs; Imran is a dog,” they shouted.
Both Imran Ghafur and Asia Bibi continue to remain in prison, jailed for their religous beliefs.