BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
    You are in: World: South Asia  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 25 December, 2002, 14:49 GMT
Christmas under tight security
Christian community in Islamabad gather in compound of Fathima Catholic church to celebrate Christmas under tight security by police
Police are on high alert in a number of Asian countries

Christians in many parts of the world are celebrating Christmas this year under tight security, following the recent devastating attacks by Islamist militants in Indonesia and Kenya.

Christian demonstration in India
Christians have come under attack in recent years
There has been particularly strong tension in Pakistan, after the authorities discovered grenades and ammunition close to a big church in the capital, Islamabad.

In neighbouring India, 50 armed men robbed church-goers in West Bengal, injuring a priest when one of the attackers threw an explosive device.

Elsewhere across Asia and the Middle East, Christmas Day has been passing peacefully.

Massive security

More than 1,000 worshippers - including many foreigners - attended the Christmas Day service at the St Thomas Protestant church in Islamabad.

But unbeknown to them, security forces had on Christmas Eve uncovered a bag containing grenades and ammunition just a short distance away.

Officials kept quiet about the discovery, believing the explosives may well have been planted in a mock operation to force a cancellation of the service rather than to be used in an actual attack.

Nevertheless, in the wake of attacks on Christian targets - including another Protestant church several times during the year - security was tight throughout the day.

In India, at a Catholic church in Srinagar, Christians and Muslims prayed for peace in Kashmir in a joint service.

In Indonesia - still recovering from the Bali bombing in October - about 300,000 security personnel were deployed to guard churches.

Security forces were on high alert too in the Philippines, which has Asia's largest Roman Catholic community.

And church services went ahead in Malaysia and Singapore.

See also:

25 Dec 02 | South Asia
06 Dec 02 | South Asia
Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes