SANGLA HILL, Pakistan — The rioting youths from the Muslim suburbs of Paris who burned churches, schools and cars made headlines. But terrorists’ attacks on churches and Christian believers have flared around the globe this fall.
In Pakistan, hundreds of Catholics worshipped in the open air Nov. 13, the day after 1,500 Muslims rioted, burning down their churches in what seemed like organized attacks.
On Nov. 12, the Muslim mob shouted insults at the Christians, calling them kafirs and chucha, the abusive term for non-Muslims and untouchables, and kuta (dogs).
Local police and the Catholic community agreed on how the violence began: A Catholic man had spent several days gambling with Muslim men and had won a small fortune.
Embittered, his opponents spread the rumor that he had set fire to the koran mahal (a box for preserving torn pages of the Koran). Soon the alleged deed was broadcast by mullahs from mosques.
Muslim mobs set ablaze three churches, a convent and a priest's house in the Punjab province on Nov. 12.
Catholic protesters gathered the next day, and dispersed only after Catholic Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha, 69, advised them not to retaliate.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia, Police said Nov. 14 that they uncovered and possible foiled a terrorist plot to bomb churches during Christmas. Indonesia is the world's most populous Moslem nation, but Central Sulawesi has roughly equal numbers of Moslems and Christians.
Indonesia has deployed more military troops to the plagued province of Central Sulawesi. That's where a recent spate of violence included the beheading of three teenage Christian schoolgirls.
(From combined wire dispatches)