- (Photo: Kamran Chaudhry/World Watch Monitor)
A group of Korean Christians are planning to build a "peace center" for a Christian community in Pakistan that was hit by a terrorist attack last year.
Last month, a delegation of Korean church leaders visited the Anglican Diocese of Peshawar at the request of Bishop Humphrey Peters. During the visitation, the delegation, which included Dr. Myoung Hyuk Kim, chairman of the Korean Evangelical Fellowship, and the Rev. Dong-Hwi Lee, senior pastor of the Tin Church, announced plans for a peace center.
When completed, the planned facility will include a library, conference hall, and be accessible to all people regardless of religious belief, according to Episcopal News Service.
"The project was revealed in the Diocese of Peshawar's newsletter The Frontier News," noted ENS, adding that it was being done "in the memory of the martyrs of the All Saints' Church Peshawar."
Last September, a suicide bombing hit All Saints' Peshawar, killing an estimated 80 people and wounding over a hundred more.
Taking place during Sunday worship, it is believed to be the costliest attack on the Islamic Republic's Christian minority in the nation's history.
Muslim and Christian leaders condemned the attack, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif calling the attack "cruel" and against the beliefs of Islam.
In a statement, Anglican Communion Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called "for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ's people."
"With the people of Peshawar I join in calling for the Pakistan Government and all people of good will to ensure that communities may go about their daily lives in safety, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice," said Welby.
"Please be assured of my prayers and fullest support as you provide leadership and care for your people at this difficult time."
While the bombing at All Saints is considered an especially horrific event, persecution watchdog groups like Open Doors USA believe it is part of a grander narrative of Christian persecution in the Muslim nation.
Pakistan ranked number eight on Open Doors' 2014 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians, with the September 2013 attack being listed as one factor in their ranking.
"Pakistan's Christians are caught in the crossfire between Islamic militant organizations that routinely target Christians, and an Islamizing culture that leaves Christians isolated from the rest of the population," reads an entry on Open Doors' website about Pakistan.
"The notorious blasphemy laws continue to have devastating consequences for minorities, including Christians. Women and girls from minority groups are particularly vulnerable, and sexual assaults against underage Christian girls by Muslim men continue to be reported."
Nevertheless, the Christian population of Pakistan continues to have a presence. In 2011, the largest Catholic Church in the country, St. Peter's Church in Karachi, was built and has a worship attendance of about 5,000.