November 23, 2011
A newly built church in a Karachi slum that can seat as many as 5,000 worshipers is a testament to the resilience and hope of Pakistani Christians amid persecution in the violent, Muslim-majority country, the Washington Post reports. The three-story St. Peter's of Karachi is the largest yet in Pakistan, and was built on the site of a smaller church in an area that is home to around 15,000 Christians. "There were so many people here it was not possible for us to accommodate them on Sundays," said Father Saleh Diego. "Now we can pray together, all 5,000 people, worship the Lord and really share and strengthen our faith." As in the case of St. Peter's, new churches built in Pakistan are typically in poor Christian neighborhoods -- ghettos of extreme poverty often separated from their Muslim neighbors by high walls -- so there is usually no direct opposition to their construction. Father Diego said his church was concerned about rising radicalism and persecution in Pakistan, but that his building had received no threats.