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Sookhdeo, Patrick (1999) The Impact of Islamization on the Christian Community in Pakistan. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033747

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Abstract

Christianity arrived in the area which is now Pakistan well before the advent of Islam, but was extinguished for a while by Muslim persecution, before being re-introduced by Western missionaries. The Pakistani Christian community of today numbers about three million people, who are mainly the descendants of mass conversions of Chuhra people about a century ago. Consequently the community has a low socio-economic status on average. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, apparently intended equality for all citizens, but there has been a range of other opinions as to the place of Islam in Pakistan and the status of non-Muslim minorities. The passing of the Objectives Resolution in 1949 began a process of Islamization, which included changes to the legislation and constitution and an increasing level of discrimination against Christians at many levels of society, significantly by zamindars and the police. Some of the types of discrimination correspond to the traditional dhimmi status of Christians in a Muslim society; others do not, notably the "blasphemy law" which has interesting links with apostasy. The Shari'ah has gained increasing prominence in the legislation. As citizens of a state created to be a homeland for Muslims, many Christians have an identity crisis and some have emigrated. For historical reasons, mainly connected with the influence of missionaries, Christians were apathetic in their response to Islamization and tended to withdraw from the majority society and from politics. The Punjabi biradari culture created disunity which also weakened their response. In recent years, they have become more active in national protests, inter-faith dialogue and engaging the international arena. They are now as active in politics as they can be within the separate electorates system. Many would rather have their own state or autonomous Christian province within Pakistan but this is unrealistic.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033747
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:19
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/33747

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