Pakistani Bishop: Muslim-Christian Tension Unlikely to be Resolved Soon

There is a deeply rooted mindset among Muslim extremists that makes them especially hostile to Christians in Pakistan, a bishop from Lahore told American church leaders this week.

An unintended effect of the United States' war on terror has been how Muslim militants connect Christians, regardless of their ethnicity, to Westerners, said the Rev. Dr. Alexander John Malik, the Episcopal Bishop of Lahore.

"Such a mindset creates problems for Christians in Pakistan and puts the church under pressure," said Malik, according to the National Council of Churches.

Unfortunately, this anti-Christian mindset is not restricted to Pakistan.

"It's the same from the Sudan to Somalia, from Iraq to Indonesia," Malik said. "This is the mindset of Muslims who consider their religion to be the utmost importance."

The Pakistani bishop discussed the problems between Muslims and Christians just a month after Muslim mobs torched hundreds of Christian homes in the town of Gojra in central Pakistan. The massive attack was reportedly to the consequence of allegations by a banned Muslim extremist group that a Christian family had desecrated the Quran.

Despite the claims, authorities said their investigation shows that no such desecration occurred.

In response to the brutal treatment of the Christian minority in Pakistan, more than 62 schools with over 50,000 students decided to shut down for three days as an act of mourning as well as peaceful protest.

Bishop Malik was the one to announce that all Christian educational institutions of the Roman Catholic Church and Church of Pakistan would be closed for three days.

Christians in Pakistan also observed "Black Day" in place of Minority Day last month to protest the wave of violence against their community.

Though Malik says the Christian leaders in Lahore meet with mullahs for interfaith consultation in hopes of peaceful co-existence, he suggested there is no quick fix to the deeply rooted problem.