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After violence, Pakistani Christians convert to Islam

posted by Grace Yukich

Following recent increases in violence against Christians in Pakistan and other parts of the Middle East, many Christians are feeling increasingly fearful. For some, such as large numbers of Christians in Iraq, the response has been to leave the country entirely. But others are understandably unwilling or unable to leave their homes. For these, there are few options available for ensuring their safety in a hostile climate. As an article in the Toronto Star chronicles, in Pakistan, the anti-blasphemy law is being invoked to settle disputes that may have little to do with the content of religion, other than the fact that one of the parties involved is Christian. In such an environment, some Christians feel that the only way to protect themselves and their families is to convert to Islam. Human rights workers are urging that the blasphemy law be amended to better protect religious minorities, or, at the very least, that the law’s implementation be better regulated, so as to avoid the current abuses.

Read the entire article here.

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One Response to “After violence, Pakistani Christians convert to Islam”

  1. avatar Saskia Louise Schaefer says:

    This article is both on the increasing conversion rate among Pakistani Christians and on the blasphemy law. While the former will have many reasons that would be valuable to explore, the recent blasphemy debates are surely one factor. There’s a similar law here in Indonesia and what I find important is to stress that this law does not only affect non-Muslims, but indeed Muslims as well, as the article on Pakistan also mentions in the last paragraphs. There’s also the suggestion that these blasphemy accusations might have more to do with the class divide than the different religions.

    I think this is very important. In Pakistan as well as in Indonesia, many Muslims have been sentenced according to this law because they have deviated from certain sanctioned versions of Islam. It is important to keep in mind that the division lines do not simply run between Muslims and Christians or even Muslims and non-Muslims, because such a division fails to address what I see as the main problem: the power of some to define what should be allowed within religious boundaries and what is outside and shall thus be sanctioned.

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