The Clash Between Islam And Christianity, From Sweden To Pakistan

Thousands of Muslims attacked Christians’ homes and churches after the Quran was desecrated near a Christian enclave.

Written by Anthony Cash

What’s happening: The Pakistani government arrested 129 Muslim rioters after a mob attacked 12 churches and over 50 Christian homes Wednesday. The violence broke out after two Christian men allegedly desecrated the Quran, Islam’s holy book. The two Christians were arrested on blasphemy charges.

On the ground: Hundreds of Christians found their churches, homes, and belongings destroyed by the mob, which was armed and led by local clerics. A Catholic leader said that loudspeakers on mosque’s minarets called on Muslims to “attack the churches and Christian community.” The government has promised to compensate the victims for property loss.

Dive deeper: Insulting Islam can lead to a death sentence under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. While that hasn’t happened yet, those accused of violating the law are often attacked, lynched, or burned.

In Europe: Sweden is grappling with Quran burnings by Christians upset with an influx of Muslim immigrants, causing a diplomatic crisis. Muslim countries want Sweden to abandon free speech protections and crack down on the protests. Amid the increased tensions, Sweden raised its terror threat level from three to four on a five-point scale.

  • It doesn’t stop there: In response to the burnings, Iraqis invaded and torched their country’s Swedish embassy, and the Iraqi prime minister expelled the Swedish ambassador. The Turkish president also blocked Sweden’s NATO application for months because of the Quran burnings before allowing the NATO membership to proceed last month.

Zoom out: Due to Europe’s yearslong experiment with mass immigration, a significant percent of its population is now Muslim. The resulting cultural clash centers on religious expression — causing strife not just in Europe, but in volatile Muslim countries too.

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