Many Pakistani Christians were injured after a church attack on Christmas morning.
A group of 50 to 60 Muslim men attacked the church with the aim to kidnap and assault the women attending the morning church service, Mission Network News reports.
Security guards at the church as well as men in attendance fought against the attackers, who used staffs as weapons. The conflict left many men of faith with injuries such as fractures and other blunt trauma wounds.
Police arrived at the church and assisted the attackers in escaping the church. Authorities then blamed those who had been attending the service for fighting back.
"They scolded and threatened the Christian community, the Christian church, saying it’s illegal to have their own security. Which is truly an unjustified and illegal action by the police, because it was announced by the government of Pakistan two years ago, that every church must have its own security. " says Nehemiah from Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).
Nehemiah says churches in Pakistan now must have their own CCTV cameras, barbed wire, and medical equipment.
Police have since arrested the church security guards who fought the assailants.
Nehemiah says Christians in Pakistan live in fear of violence constantly, with regular attacks taking place on Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter.
"Christians, they live in colonies in Pakistan. They don’t live just randomly, but they live as a group in colonies for their own protection."
Christians in the country are seen as the lowest classe and looked down upon by other segments of society.
The 2020 World Watch List released by Open Doors USA ranks Pakistan as the fifth worst country in the world for religious persecution of Christians due to extreme Islamic persecution.