Bishop: Pressure remains on Christians in Pakistan


Six years after the tragedy of Sept. 11, Christians in Pakistan remain under intense pressure as religious extremism has increased, according to a bishop there.

“Christians in Islamic countries are viewed with suspicion,” said Bishop Alexander John Malik during a Sept. 10-12 visit with United Methodist and Episcopal leaders in New York.

He presides over the Diocese of Lahore and is moderator of the Church of Pakistan.

Immediately after Sept. 11, “our churches were attacked, institutions were attacked, Christians were killed,” he told staff at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

Part of the problem, he added, is the mind set among some Muslims “that all Christians are westerners and all westerners are Christians.”

Buoyed by opposition to the U.S. war on terror, as well as U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, Osama Bin Laden “has become a hero” to some people in Pakistan, the bishop said. “Capturing Osama will not solve the problem. (He) is an ideology now.”