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Interestingly one nut job threatening to burn a Muslim Holy Book, brings out the mainstream media in force, and generates protests across the Muslim world. But in Pakistan non-Muslims are being denied a share of the aid being given to flood victims, or being told to receive aid they must convert, and there is nary a word coming from the traditional media.

Christians and members of other minority religions are being treated as second-class citizens, said Father Mario Rodrigues, the Lahore-based director of Catholic Mission.

“They often receive little assistance or are excluded altogether,” he told Fides, the Vatican’s news agency

According to the Vatican, aid is being given to”government officials sympathetic to Islamic fundamentalism or by Muslim relief organisations” and the 200,000 Christians in Punjab province and about 600,000 Christians and Hindus in Sindh province who have been affected by weeks of monsoon rain are not being given aid. 

Zubair Masih said: “I have come from Sukkur. We were overcome by waters and we lost everything. We went to a refugee camp near Thatta, but they did not allow us to enter because we are Christians.”

Abid Masih, a Christian who lives in a camp near Larkana, said: “My wife is sick, but the doctor refused to visit her and treat her, saying that we should wait for the World Health Organization to send Christian doctors. Aamir Gill, among the refugees from Dadu, says: “I arrived with my family at a camp near Hyderabad, but the camp administration refused to register us because we are Christians and they did not give us anything. We were forced to leave.”

Carl Moeller, President of the American organization Open Doors, which publishes a report on persecuted Christians around the world, in a statement sent to Fides says: “Some Christian refugees are openly denied aid, while others are told to leave or convert to Islam. You can imagine that terrible choice: either you abandon your faith or you cannot feed your child.”

Along with the lack of aid to Christian’s and other religious minorities, the end of Ramadan signals the growth of the simmering hate against Christians

In some areas, however, tension remains high. In Karachi, the local Catholic community is still shaken by the attack suffered in recent days by Asghar Bhatti, 61, a lay Catholic and family man, member of the Parish Church of St. Paul. Bhatti was hit by two gunshots fired by two radical Islamic militants, right in front of the Church of St. Paul. “It’s a miracle he’s alive. They wanted to kill him and he got away with two shots to the shoulder. He is now in the hospital,” Fides was told by Fr. Saleh Diego, Pastor of St. Paul’s Church and Chancellor of the Diocese.

“We are very concerned. It seems to me to be a serious act of intimidation. Asghar Bhatti is very active in lay ministry and used to visit the homes and families of parishioners. It is a warning to all Catholics, to discourage or prevent them from preaching and put a damper on pastoral activity,” said the priest, demanding greater police protection in order to stop the extremists. “We are helpless and defenseless against these attacks. Asgahr is only alive by the grace of God.” The pastor has informed the Bishop, while a delegation of Christian leaders of Karachi have met with representatives of the Muslim party “Jamaat-e-Islami,” asking for support and underlining the apprehension of the Christian community.

The Catholic community of the Parish of St. Paul, in the meantime, is very active in assisting the refugees who have flocked in thousands to the city of Karachi. The southern part of Sindh is still affected by torrential rains that worsen the situation. The road between Karachi and Hyderabad is flooded and this makes things even more difficult for the rescue operations. According to local sources, some 3 million refugees in Sindh and southern Punjab have not received any humanitarian assistance

 Burning a Quran or any book considered holy to a people is a despicable act. Causing the deaths of people just because they believe in a different holy book than yours, is even worse.  The media across the world spent much of the past week, concentrating on the possible incineration of  one holy text while ignoring the deaths of innocents.  There is something very wrong with their priorities.

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