ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christians under attack: attacks by Islamic extremists in a suburb of Karachi

Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - The Christian population is terrified: violent raids are increasing, day and night, carried out by groups of Islamic extremists in Essa Nagri, Christian suburb of the city of Karachi. In the area, densely populated, about 50,000 Christians live in extreme poverty and lack of basic services. According to local sources of Fides, in the suburb of Essa Nagri there are about 15 churches of various denominations: Catholic, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Salvation Army and others. In the area various NGO work with projects concerning education, social and economic support to the community. Among these, the NGO "Mission and Action for Social Services" (Mass), informed Fides that it has filed an official complaint to the police, because in past months attacks on behalf of Islamic militants against the families of the neighborhood have increased tremendously.
As reported to Fides, the militants enter Essa Nagri wielding pistols and machine guns, ransacking homes and committing all kinds of violence against defenseless families. They steal, extort money, saying that they must cash the "Jizya" (the tax imposed, according to the sharia on non-Muslim minorities), they beat innocent victims, abuse women for fun. The NGO "Mass" claims to have asked the authorities to "take action against these terrorists." The phenomenon had already been reported to Fides by the Catholic politician of Sindh, Michael Javed (see Fides 14/1/2012) who had spoken of "rapes and torture of Christian women and children" in the suburbs of Karachi. In past days, a Christian woman from Essa Nagri, who was shocked reported: "Armed men and drunk broke into my house and raped my two daughters under my eyes. Who protects us? ". There are also numerous cases where the militants have kidnapped Christian girls, forcing them to marriage and conversion to Islam. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/3/2012)

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