Stories of Christian Martyrs: Quetta Church Attack
Fazal’s wife, Shahnaz, smiled as she watched her husband put on
his new shoes, excited to attend church that morning. Christmas
was just a week away, and he looked forward to taking communion that day at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan.
Shahnaz quietly chided him for running late, then kissed Fazal and their
son goodbye, not realizing it would be the last time she would see her
Fazal and his son arrived at a church packed with people who had
come to watch the children’s Christmas celebration. But as the congregation lined up to receive the elements of communion, four men wearing suicide vests approached the church. Seeing their intent, security personnel tried to prevent the men from entering, shooting one as he entered the compound. Two of the others fled the scene, but the fourth man managed to push his way through the entrance and detonate his explosives. Fazal’s son was preparing to receive the elements when the explosion occurred, and the woman next to him was injured in the blast.
Eleven Christians, including Fazal, were killed in the attack, and
many others were wounded. The self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) later
claimed credit for the bombing.
While composing less than 1 percent of the country’s population,
Christians are marginalized by the Muslim majority and must often work
menial jobs for minimal pay. Christian communities receive little protection from the government and are often easy targets of Muslim extremist attacks. Large gatherings of believers on Christian holidays are also often targeted by the extremists.
While church members mourned for those killed in the bombing,
they also had reason to praise God. If the other attackers had managed
to get inside the church and detonate their explosives, the death toll
would have been far greater.
Pakistani Christians endure great hardships for their Christian witness. They are hated by their neighbors and treated as second-class citizens for worshiping Jesus, who promised, “Blessed are you when people
hate you… on account of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22).
“He will wipe away every tear
from their eyes, and death shall
be no more, neither shall there
be mourning, nor crying, nor
pain anymore, for the former
things have passed away.”
This story is an excerpt from Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs. You can get your own copy free with any donation to The Voice of the Martyrs.