On Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, at least 72 Christians met their death whilst celebrating Easter in a park in Lahore, Pakistan.
The suicide attack also injured 340 people.
Mohammad Usman, a local official, explained:
The attacker was able to enter the park and blow himself up in the children’s play area, near the swings.
An emergency services manager described the death toll as follows: 29 children, seven women and 36 men.
Police chief Haider Ashraf said that the explosives used were particularly powerful. However, he maintained that the majority of the victims were Muslim, not Christian.
Yet, an extremist group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsiblity for the attack. Their statement said that:
Christians were the target.
Christians comprise a tiny two per cent of Pakistan’s population.
The group also warned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that they would be in Lahore to stay and there wasn’t anything that he could do about it.
Elsewhere in Pakistan that day, violence broke out in Islamabad and Rawalpindi against the execution of radical Mumtaz Qadri on February 29, for the assassination of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab.
Le Monde‘s readers had several pointed reactions to this story. Essentially, when this happens in the West, it is all our fault. We aren’t accepting enough. We are inherently racist.
One woman wrote that when she commented on the Christian-friendly Glaswegian Muslim who was killed on Maundy Thursday saying he was one of us, other readers told her she:
was being prejudiced …
Several readers took issue with sociologists who have all sorts of theories on Islamist attacks with one thing in common — Westerners are to blame when they happen in our countries. Three excerpts:
Sociologists are bombarding us unscrupulously with unfounded theories. They don’t have the necessary tools to tackle this issue which is outside the realm of their competence.
An Italian comedian has a sketch making fun of sociologists’ incompetence: ‘I had no desire to work, so I became a sociologist’. Harsh but true.
You misunderstand … Sociologists (well, some sociologists) have an explanation for jihad in France. But it’s not the same reason for jihad in Pakistan. When one theory does not hold true, they invent another. But that one won’t be true for Boko Haram, nor explain the support from some rich Saudis for jihadists. Never mind, here’s a third explanation and a fourth. Is this how science works?
We are living with extremism, pure and simple. Whether in Pakistan, Africa, Europe or the United States, the one thing these attacks have in common is maiming and death for people who are trying to mind their own business or for those, such as the aforementioned Salman Taseer, who are trying to bring their societies into the 21st century.
We can continue to be as accepting and welcoming as we like. It will not make a difference to those who wish to attack us and our values. So, there is no need for soul-searching, asking ourselves whether we are doing enough. We are.