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Paper appeals to U.S. Christians on Bhatti

March 11, 2011 at 12:31 AM

WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- Christians in the United States must not overlook the assassination of Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian Post said.

Bhatti, the only Christian to serve in the cabinet in the predominantly Muslim country -- and a vocal critic of Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws -- was shot and killed by gunmen March 2 in Islamabad.

"For many U.S. Christians, this may be the first time hearing about him," the Christian Post said. "Though his life might have gone unnoticed in America, his death must not be overlooked."

Citing a report by the watchdog Open Doors that, on average, one Christian is killed every month in Pakistan, the newspaper said Bhatti had braved death threats from Islamic extremists and spoken out for the rights of minorities.

Bhatti's assassination followed that of Pakistani Gov. Salman Taseer, a Muslim who also had sought reforms in the blasphemy law.

The newspaper said U.S. Christians should care about Bhatti's death as he was the lone voice in the cabinet representing Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.

"Secondly, if Islamic extremists are capable of killing a high-profile cabinet member, the small Christian population remains at great risk," the report said.

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