The world has rightly condemned the burning of a Quran two months ago by an atheist activist in Sweden.
Actions such as these – designed to cause hurt and outrage rather than foster respectful discussion or debate – are reprehensible.
Furthermore, along with the needless hurt caused to our Muslim neighbours around the world, it is most often Christian communities in Muslim-majority countries who suffer the consequences.
The anger felt about the Quran burning has no doubt helped to fuel the anti-Christian riots in Punjab, Pakistan, in which at least 22 church buildings were attacked – five of them burned – and dozens of Christian homes were set ablaze by extremists.
Bibles, hymnbooks and other Christian books were burned by the mob.
Yet there was been a marked difference in the world’s response to the actions of an atheist extremist in Sweden and its response to actions of Islamist extremists in Pakistan.
In a statement on 21 July 2023, for example, the UK Foreign Office denounced the Quran burning, adding, “We recognise the deep suffering experienced by Muslims around the world caused by the burning of the Qur’an.”
Yet on the burning of church buildings, Christian homes and Bibles, Western governments remain silent.
This is despite condemnation of the anti-Christian violence from Pakistan’s own government, from some other Muslim-majority countries such as the United Arab Emirates, and from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
The report from the HRCP (which is not a Christian organisation) was clear that the mob violence was “part of a larger campaign of hatred against the local Christians”.
Right now Christians in Pakistan are living in fear for their lives. Our brothers and sisters in Nagorno-Karabakh are being starved to death as their land is blockaded by Muslim-majority Azerbaijan. Anti-Christian violence in sub-Saharan Africa has grown to genocidal levels.
Why does the silence persist?