- Title: PAKISTAN: Christians celebrate Christmas amid security fears
- Date: 24th December 2013
- Summary: KARACHI, PAKISTAN (DECEMBER 24 , 2013) (REUTERS) CHRISTIAN FAMILY DOING LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATIONS ON DISPLAY CHRISTIAN WOMAN LOOKING AT CHRISTMAS TREE ON SALE FAMILIES SHOPPING SECURITY OUTSIDE THE CENTRAL BROOKS MEMORIAL CHURCH STAR ON CHURCH POLICEMEN ON GUARD OUTSIDE CHURCH CLOSE OF GUN CHURCH LIT UP AND DECORATED FOR MIDNIGHT MASS POSTER READING:"HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR" CHRISTMAS TREE CHRISTIAN FAMILIES ARRIVING FOR MIDNIGHT MASS VARIOUS OF CHOIR SINGING MAN PLAYING DRUMS PASTORS ARRIVING HOLY CROSS PASTOR EMMANUAL VICTOR GIVING SERMON (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) PASTOR EMMANUAL VICTOR SAYING: "It is the message of God that we should love others the way we love ourselves. We should love our neighbors also. This is the message of Christmas which I want to pass on to all of you." TWO WOMEN PRAYING VARIOUS OF CONGREGATION PRAYING
- Embargoed: 8th January 2014 12:00
- Location: Pakistan
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: Religion
- Reuters ID: LVACCF6NSTC2B5TTSZX8PIQ48P0W
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Minority Christian communities in Pakistan on Tuesday (December 24) began Christmas celebrations by attending midnight mass in various churches across the country.
Around three hundred worshippers attended midnight mass in the Central Brooks Memorial Church in the teeming port city of Karachi.
Pastor Emmanual Victor read out a sermon about love and peace.
"It is the message of God that we should love others the way we love ourselves. We should love our neighbors also. This is the message of Christmas which I want to pass on to all of you," the Pastor said.
Christmas Day, locally known as 'Bara Din' (the Big Day) is a festive occasion for the tiny community with churches and houses in Christian neighbourhoods illuminated with fairy lights and decorated with colorful Christmas trees.
There are around 4.5 million Christians in Pakistan, approximately 2.4 percent of the population, most of who keep a low profile in a country where Sunni Muslim militants frequently bomb targets they see as heretical, including Christians, Sufis and Shi'ites.
Violence has been on the rise in Pakistan in recent years, and attacks on Christian areas occur sporadically around the country but in September this year 96 people were killed and around 130 injured in twin suicide attacks on a church in Peshawar.
The church assault, in a densely populated Christian residential area in the old walled city in Peshawar, was the most violent in recent history.
Explosions struck the historic white-stone All Saints Church in the city of Peshawar as hundreds of parishioners, many of them women and children, streamed out of the building.
The Taliban-linked militant group TTP Jundullah claimed responsibility within hours of the attack.
Relations between Pakistan's Christians and Muslims are often marred by accusations of blasphemy that underlines the climate of fear and suspicion that minorities face in the Muslim-majority country.
In Pakistan, December 25 December is a public holiday in memory of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
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