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Canada Must Do More to Protect These Persecuted Christians

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Westerners don't get it.

Christians in Muslim lands are mere dhimmis. This means they must pay the jizya tax or risk being slaughtered by radicals. This unfortunately is what happened in many parts of the Muslim world in recent weeks.

The Pakistani government has vowed to pursue the perpetrators but there's neither the will, nor the mechanism in place to bring these murderers to justice.

After the Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer and Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated in 2011, current Pakistani ambassador to the UN Sherry Rehman proposed reforms to Pakistan's blasphemy laws. But to date, nothing has changed. Furthermore, the situation has worsened beyond the mere abuse of an already discriminatory and obscurantist law.

This is no longer an issue of stray attacks on Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. Radical and violent ideologies have taken root among the masses. These masses, once influenced by a mystical, Sufi, and syncretistic expression of Islam, have turned to orthodox radicalism that is vicious, doctrinaire and violent.

I visited Pakistan for a month in March this year. Two other massacres occurred even during that short period. While there was moral outrage over the killings of Christians among some circles, many did not hesitate to blame Christians for blaspheming Islam and inciting violence: A classic case of blaming the victims.

I believe the militant jihadist genie has been set free. Its therefore time for peaceful nations to intervene in countries like Pakistan and Nigeria where beleaguered Christian communities suffer on a daily basis. Boko Haram in Nigeria has carried out similar attacks on Christians in Nigeria.
It seems the Islamic world is embroiled in petty religious wars. Whether the war is between the forces of secularism and the religious right, or between "infidels" and Muslims, the ubiquity of violence in the Islamic world should be enough for global peace activists and governments to devise a strategy to quell the unrest.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the latest attack in Peshawar, Pakistan, stating it was taking revenge for US drone strikes. This comment is telling. Taliban schooled in a medieval worldview do not see past religious identities. Instead of viewing their Pakistani Christian citizens as fellow countrymen, they see them as an extension of the Christian West and therefore "the other." This is the bane of radical Islam that it aspires to transcend national boundaries to form a supra religious community of rabid religious bigots. Everything and everyone is viewed through the lens of religion.

I implore Western nations including Canada to take this matter more seriously. Minister John Baird and Religious Freedom Ambassador Andrew Bennet's condemnation of the attack urging Pakistani authorities to do more is not enough! The United Nations General Assembly must address this issue in its current deliberations. The world needs a unified strategy to protect Christians from Muslim fundamentalists.

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