Pakistan: Christian schoolchildren use Islamic names to prevent abuse
The Bishop of Hyderabad, in Pakistan, Bishop Samson Shukardin, denounced that religious intolerance and abuse in the country's schools are forcing Christian parents and other religious minorities to give Islamic names to their children.
"Many minorities give their children Islamic names so that they are not designated as Christians and become possible targets of discrimination in primary or secondary schools or at the university level," said Msgr. Shukardin in a recent interview with the charity. Help the Church Needs (ACN).
The Prelate said that minorities are "considered unfaithful and are negatively represented" in school textbooks and that, in many cases, "suffer abuse in public schools."
"The fundamentalists believe that Islam is the only complete religion, that salvation is only found in the Qur'an as the last holy book," said the bishop, adding that "most minorities, and in particular Christians, fear the attacks and the persecution ”.
The bishop described how Christians suffer in Pakistan because of the extremists who falsely associate them with the West.
"If the West attacks Muslims anywhere in the world, enraged fundamentalists in Pakistan often attack churches," he said.
However, Msgr. Shukardin said that not only Christians are attacked by extremists, without moderate Muslims and other religious minorities also being at risk: “There are many more attacks against mosques than against churches: fundamentalist Muslims who kill other moderate Muslims "
The Prelate also highlighted issues about kidnappings, and forced conversions and marriages.
“Muslims believe that converting a person to Islam earns them eternal life. If an initial effort fails, people resort to kidnapping. Kidnappings and forced marriages are more common in rural areas, where people have little education, ”he said.
On the other hand, Bishop Shukardin stressed the importance of improving education in Pakistan and requested more resources for needy families to send their children to college.
"Education is key for all nations that try to transform society," he said.
Last year, ACN funded more than 60 projects in Pakistan, including church building, training of sisters and other religious, as well as emergency assistance.
Tags: persecuted Christians, Religious freedom, Middle East, Pakistan, Help the Church in Need, AIN, Church in Pakistan