Asia Evangelical Alliance Condemns Attacks on Christians in South Asia
A suicide bomb and gun attack on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Western Pakistani city of Quetta has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens of others, hospital officials say. The attack targeted the Church as worshippers gathered inside to attend a Sunday midday service. A second attacker fired upon worshippers, before being killed by security forces at the scene.
The Asia Evangelical Alliance (AEA)
The Asia Evangelical Alliance (AEA) empowers National Alliances to be agents of transformation in Asia, by uniting evangelical churches for dynamic action in the areas of mission and Church Planting, Theology and Church Renewal, Religious Liberty, Social Concern, Women's Ministry, Youth Ministry and Leadership Development. It has a membership of 16 Asian National Alliances and 11 associate members.
The AEA is deeply saddened at the news of the suicide bomb attack on December 17, resulting in the deaths of at least nine people and wounding up to 56 persons. More than 400 people were gathered at the church for the service at the time of the attack. The death toll would have been much higher had it not been for the quick action of the police guards stationed at the church entrance who killed one of the bombers. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement.
Rev. Paul Ueki, Chairman of AEA said, “Sadly, this is not an isolated incident in Pakistan and the larger South Asia region, there are frequent and unwarranted attacks against the minority Christian community in the region.”
In the neighbouring country of India, Christians are also repeatedly targeted for their faith. In the state of Madhya Pradesh, a group of 30 carollers were recently attacked on December 14 and their vehicle burnt by a mob who accused them of forcible religious conversion.
AEA urges the Government of Pakistan and India to make every effort to protect the minorities of the country and ensure that Christians can exercise their basic human rights to freely practice and profess their faith. It calls upon the church, to continue to hold fast to the Gospel of Jesus and to speak out for their brethren who are being targeted for their faith.
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