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Christians attacked by Taliban in Pakistan

By May 4, 2009

Pakistan (MNN) — Taliban militants are wasting no time in trying to put pressure on minority Christians in Pakistan. Christians were attacked in Taiser Town, near Karachi, which is outside the area where the Taliban have instituted sharia law.

Glenn Penner with Voice of the Martyrs Canada says three Christians were killed, including an 11-year-old boy. "The Taliban were attacking a number of Christians who were removing message that had been written on their church buildings and local homes–messages that were calling for Christians to renounce their faith and making demands to actually pay a jizye tax."

A jizya tax is tax levied on non-Muslims who are living in a Muslim area. In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to Muslim state's protection from outside aggression, to be exempted from military service and taxes levied upon Muslim citizens.

According to Penner, the Taliban have one thing on their mind. "The Taliban is not satisfied with simply being restricted to the Swat Valley. They have extended their reach into the neighboring areas and even into southern Pakistan into the Sindh Province."

These weren't attacks on Muslim-background Christians. "There were simply Christians who happened to be in the way as the Taliban were ransacking homes, burning Bibles and beating believers," says Penner

As the Taliban gains more power, it's going to put even more pressure on Christians. "It certainly will give a great deal of concern to Muslim converts, in particular, who would be concerned apostates, and under the Taliban would be targets for execution."

Penner is asking Christians to pray for Pakistan's government to "show strength in the face of increasing pressure from the Taliban to give way before them. Pray for western governments that they will put pressure on the Pakistani government to defend, particularly, minorities."

Even this is going to be difficult. Penner says, "There has always been a strong belief that the Pakistan Military has sympathizers within it toward the Taliban."

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