Armed Christians Defending Pakistan Churches

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

christiansLAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)-- Christian men have formed a security team to defend churches in Pakistan after several terror attacks killed at least some 100 Christian worshipers within two years.

The team began providing security to Shalom Presbyterian Church in the Bahar Colony area of Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital, where
suicide bombings against two churches in March killed 17 worshippers.

It has since expanded to provide security at six more churches in neighboring areas, news reports said.

"We are more blessed and strengthened in God day by day and we are looking forward to reach more and more churches in Lahore and other parts of the country, irrespective of the denomination," added team spokesman Waqar Peter Gill in an interview with U.S.-based Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

Christians have also asked for protection in areas such as Peshawar, the main town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which was rocked by
a twin suicide bombing in September 2013, killing at least 78 people during a church service.

The attacks at Peshawar's All Saints Church were described as Pakistan's "deadliest" violence against Christians.

GIGANTIC TASK

Gill said tackling terrorism is a gigantic task for a government already overwhelmed with challenges ranging from economic instability, an energy crisis, and maintaining daily law and order.

He added that his young group of some 16 Christian men wanted to help authorities, though he acknowledged they were not security guards by profession.

Gill explained that team members include musicians, bankers, government and semi-government organization employees, computer technicians and teachers, and transportation and information personnel.

However, he said, they all are committed to defend churches inspired by Bible verse Luke 11:21: "When a strong man, fully armed,
guards his own house, his possessions are safe."

Local police and security officials reportedly support the team's mission saying it will increase church security and help to fast identify suspects of suspicious activities near churches during services.

POLICE ADVANTAGE

As team members know church members and can identify visitors, they have an advantage over police, according to Christians. Police work with members of the team, who have their own licensed weapons, Gill said.

He said they were still seeking emergency medical staff who could provide first aid in case of an attack. They're also counting on
churches to request the government to provide medical training.

Christians have called plans by the team to expand activities to different churches a perfect example of unity among different denominations against any threat. Gill suggested that they want to defend churches until their last breath in this heavily Islamic nation.

Christians, comprise roughly two percent of Pakistan's more than 182 million people.

(With reporting by BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos).

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