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Christian protesters, police clash in Pakistan

Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

LAHORE, Pakistan – Hundreds of Christians clashed with police across Pakistan on Sunday, a day after a Muslim mob burned dozens of homes owned by members of the minority religious group in retaliation for alleged insults against Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Christians are often the target of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, which rights activists say are frequently used to persecute religious minorities or settle personal disputes.

Politicians have been reluctant to reform the laws for fear of being attacked by religious radicals, as has happened in the past.

The plight of Pakistan’s other religious minorities, such as Shiite Muslims, Hindus and Ahmadis, has also deepened in recent years as hard-line interpretations of Islam have gained ground and militants have stepped up attacks against groups they oppose.

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