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Church attack puts Christians on guard

Vandals damage sanctuary, windows with early morning stone-throwing

Church attack puts Christians on guard
Glass and stones on the floor of St Joseph Catholic Church in Karachi after the attack

August 29, 2011

An early morning attack on a church in Karachi during which assailants threw stones and vandalized the sanctuary, has left Christians worried for their safety. The attack was made on St Joseph Catholic Church on the morning of August 27. “Wooden ventilators 14 feet high were broken. Marble stones, shattered glass from window panes and pieces of wood were found on the church floor when we opened the doors,” said Father Richard D’Souza, the parish’s priest. He added that a police complaint had been filed against the perpetrators, whose identities remain unknown. St Joseph’s is one of seven churches located in Nasrat Nagar, which is home to more than 1,000 Christian families. On the evening of the attack, Fr Richard held a meeting with community elders, during which 50 parishioners volunteered to guard the church from further attacks. A handful of police officers were stationed at the Church yesterday to maintain security during Mass. The church was previously targeted two years ago, Fr Richard said. “The Church cross and tabernacle were broken, while vessels from the alter and the crown on the statue of the Virgin Mary were stolen.” Local Christians have blamed ethnic Pashtuns living near the Christian settlement for damaging the Church. “Many houses belonging to Christians were pelted with stones this month. Minorities have become extremely vulnerable amid ongoing civil war,” said Munawar Masih, chairman of the Punjab Minorities Commission. More than 400 people have been killed in violent gang wars backed by political parties in Karachi in the last two months. Related reports: Church stays silent amid violence Minorities fear mounting violence

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