Christmas mass and other church services will be held under the security of armed guards and security cameras in many countries since Islamic state terrorists attacked the Methodist church in Pakistan during Sunday service.
Asia and the Middle East Muslims were particularly upset after American President’s announcement about the relocation of U.S. embassy in Israel.
In Quetta, members of the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church are repairing the damage which was made by two suicide bombers.
“We’re making efforts to complete repairs and renovation before Christmas, but it seems difficult in view of the lot of damage,” said Pastor Simon Bashir (the leading pastor of the Quetta church).
Chief of provincial police Moazzam Jah Ansari told that volunteers from churches are being trained to conduct body searches. They are also trained to identify worshippers entering the churches.
In Pakistan Christians are minority which is frequently being targeted by Islamic militants.
Last year, in Lahore, bombing in a park on the Easter Day, killed more than 70 people. The police Detective Inspector General Haider Ashraf said that every church will be monitored, using CCTV cameras which is one security measure.
A Christian Kaleem Masih lost his aunt in the Easter attack last year, and his wife got wounded too in Quetta chuch terror attack. He said they would attend Christmas services. Kaleem said, “Christmas is our holy day. We will fulfill our religious duty by celebrating it with smiles on our faces.”
In Indonesia, police had stepped up security around churches and tourist sites since in the year 2000 attacks on churchesat Christmas killed 20 people. Muslim volunteers are also on standby to provide additional security if needed.
Yaqut Chiolil Qoumas, chairman of the youth wing of the Nahdlatul Ulema, said, “If our brother and sisters who celebrate Christmas need … to maintain their security to worship, we will help.”
In Egyptian capital’s, bombing at the largest Coptic Cathedral killed at least 25 people last December. The interior ministry of Egypt said that the police would held regular search operations around churches on Christmas event. Egypt’s Christian minority was also targeted on Palm Sunday in April this year.
German police has arranged experts and a robot to investigate a dubious package at a Christmas market. Germany is on high alert this year since they failed in saving the Tunisian asylum seeker in Berlin Christmas market.
In Malaysia, a police official said that American’s president Trump’s decision on Jerusalem increased attacks on Christians.
“We are concerned not only with safety at churches and places of worship but also any threats by Islamic State or any other security threat following the Jerusalem issue,” said Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
In Jerusalem, an Israeli police spokesman said that police would be deployed around the churches and the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is in the control of Palestinian Authority. Many Palestinian Christians oppose Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem and are not afraid of terror attacks.
George Antone, a Catholic citizen of Gaza, under Palestinian Hamas group control, said,“Trump’s decision offended all Palestinians, be they Christians or Muslims. Why would we feel threatened by Muslim?”