Religious Minorities Suffering Worst In Pakistan Floods

In one of the more unfortunate developments attending the catastrophic floods in Pakistan, the country's religious minorities are being denied relief and aid — and being attacked by extremists belonging to the country's Sunni majority even as the faithful mark the holy month of Ramadan. Thumping their chests as they wailed, thousands of Shi'ite Muslims gathered in the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday to mourn the victims of a triple suicide bombing that ripped through the city the night before. Two of the bombers struck Shi'ite worshippers as they were dispersing after a procession. The third bomber attacked a group clustered in a square. In all, 31 people were killed and more than 200 injured, sparking violent protests against the police for failing to protect them. The bombings came just hours after assailants opened fire on a procession of Shi'ites in the southern port city of Karachi, injuring seven people. A senior Pakistani security official told TIME that the attacks were ordered by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni extremist group with deep ties to al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. For such groups, it is not only legitimate to attack other Muslim sects but even a virtue to do so during Islam's holy month of Ramadan. Members of the Ahmedi Muslim sect have also been killed recently. On Aug. 18, Najam al-Hasan, 39, an assistant professor of science at Karachi's Dow University, was shot dead by attackers in a passing car as he was shutting to his clinic. The following day, Pir Habib al-Rahman, a U.S. citizen who was visiting Pakistan on business, was slain after masked men stopped him on the way to his farm in the town of Sanghar in Sindh and shot him twice in the head. He was the second Ahmedi American citizen to be killed in as many years while visiting Pakistan. (See pictures of flood-ravaged Pakistan.),8599,2015849,00.html