Pope Benedict XVI urged Pakistan to reverse its blasphemy laws, saying Monday they were a pretext for violence against non-Muslims, and demanded that all governments do more so Christians can practice their faith without fear.

Benedict issued one of his most pointed appeals yet for religious freedom in a speech to ambassadors accredited to the Vatican, saying it was a fundamental human right that must be protected in law and in practice.

Benedict has frequently denounced the wave of attacks against Christians in the Middle East and warned of the threat that religious intolerance poses to world security. On Monday, he catalogued a wave of injustices against the faithful from China to Nigeria in pressing governments to take action.

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