International (MNN) — Secular and religious sources alike acknowledge that Arabic Christians may face the brunt of revenge attacks following Osama bin Laden's death. The current debate over the release of photos to prove the al-Qaeda leader is dead is littered with concern over what kind of backlash there will be.
Radicals are already outraged by bin Laden's death. Anything that stirs the pot more in the slightest could heat things up for Christians, who are likely to become the scapegoats.
"There's concern that if we post pictures, or if we over inflate this whole situation, there will be tremendous implications for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world," explains Paul Estabrooks with Open Doors, USA.
Even secular sources have been quick to recognize the implications of revenge attacks on Christians. In an article released Tuesday, FrontPage Magazine listed numerous other occasions in which Muslim extremists attacked innocent Christians for the "offenses" of other Christians or of Americans.
Christians are often associated with the West due to their "Western" religion. They have historically been an easy target for angry Muslims, in particular.
"The Christian community is seen as the opportunity to take revenge when emotions become flared from all that's happened with this killing of Osama bin Laden," Estabrooks confirms.
Believers all over the Muslim world are in danger, but Christians in Pakistan and Afghanistan are especially at risk, says Estabrooks. Christians have already suffered much at the hands of extremists, especially recently in Pakistan due to the abuse of blasphemy laws. Christians are already scapegoats for all sorts of issues they have nothing to do with. Taking revenge for the death of a leader on the minority may be pretty simple.
Despite the extreme danger for believers however, Open Doors has reminded Christians worldwide to respond as Christ would: praying for those who persecute. "How we respond to all of these things gives a different perspective to the rest of the world, because the rest of the world is revenge driven," says Estabrooks. "We as Christians are to be forgiveness driven."
We ought also remember that many Muslims are still flocking to Christ, says Estabrooks. God continues to reveal Himself even to radical Muslims across the globe. "That's what we should be praying: that in spite of all of this upheaval, God will use this to impact many people to come to the knowledge of Himself."