A Pakistani businessman who believes that God has tasked him to help protect and inspire his fellow Christians has set out to build one of the world's tallest crosses in one of the most surprising places.
Parvez Henry Gill, 58, says that everything changed when God appeared to him in a dream four years ago and told him to find a way to protect Pakistani Christians. After praying intensely, he came to a conclusion: he would construct a massive, 140-foot "bulletproof" cross.
"I said, ‘I am going to build a big cross, higher than any in the world, in a Muslim country,'" Gill told the Washington Post. "It will be a symbol of God, and everybody who sees this will be worry-free. ... I want Christian people to see it and decide to stay here."
It's a bold move considering that the city of Karachi — where the cross will be erected in front of a Christian cemetery — has had its share of problems when it comes to the targeting and harassment of Christians.
But it's because of these struggles that Gill, a successful real estate executive, wants to create a massive symbol that he believes will inspire Christians who have been under fire by extremists in recent years.
Gill's cross comes at a time when Christians have been fleeing the country due to attacks at the hands of extremists. Consider that the Gora Qabristan Cemetery, where the cross will be placed, is a Christian burial ground that is regularly desecrated by some area residents.
Construction on the cross, which is made of steel, cement and iron, began last year. Gill said that the structure is almost complete and that it is "bulletproof" and can withstand attacks against it.
"If anyone tries to hit this cross, they will not succeed," he told the Washington Post.
While some of the 100 workers who began working on the cross were Muslims who quit when they realized what they were building, other Islamic adherents remain loyal to Gill and continue to work on the project.
In some ways, it's served as a unifier, though the businessman also hopes it will inspire. Some Christians understandably worry that the cross will make the cemetery an even bigger target of radical Islamic angst, though Gill said he's determined to do "God's work."
"We are trying to tell the world that there are good people here too," Gill also told the Express-Tribune last month.
Read more about the incredible cross project below.
(H/T: Washington Post)
Front page image via Shutterstock.com.