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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Pakistan Church Vandalism: Blasphemy Allegations Spark Attacks on 4 Churches

A wave of violence has swept through Pakistan’s Punjab region, with mobs vandalizing four churches and other structures amid blasphemy allegations. The incident has left the Christian community distressed, as the attack involved desecration of Bibles and alleged torture of Christians. The Moderator Bishop of the Church of Pakistan has called for immediate action and justice, while local authorities are seeking reinforcements to restore law and order.

Unrest Over Blasphemy Claims

Several churches and adjacent buildings fell victim to the fury of mobs driven by blasphemy allegations in Pakistan’s Punjab. Amid the chaos, the home of a Christian cleaner, who was accused of committing a blasphemous act, was also demolished. The Moderator Bishop of the Church of Pakistan decried the situation, citing reports of desecrated Bibles and torture inflicted on Christians during the attack. The Commissioner of the district has requested the assistance of two companies of the Pakistan Rangers to address the precarious law-and-order situation.

Attacked Churches and Pastor’s Account

The Salvation Army Church, United Presbyterian Church, Allied Foundation Church, and Shehroonwala Church located in the Isa Nagri area bore the brunt of the attacks. The pastor of Jaranwala, Imran Bhatti, revealed the extent of the destruction, condemning the incident. Videos capturing the incident depicted large mobs, some armed with sticks, vandalizing churches and setting materials ablaze. Smoke billowing from the scene underscored the chaos that unfolded.

Response from Authorities and Community

The police chief of Punjab, Usman Anwar, acknowledged the narrow lanes where these churches are situated and confirmed the vandalism. In a desperate attempt to quell the escalating unrest, the area was cordoned off. The assistant commissioner, a member of the Christian community, was evacuated for safety reasons due to the hostile atmosphere. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the Faisalabad commissioner formally requested the deployment of two companies of Pakistan Rangers to address the “vulnerable” law-and-order scenario in Jeranwala.

Appeal for Justice and Action

The Moderator Bishop of the Church of Pakistan, Azad Marshall, expressed deep distress over the incident and the pain it has caused. The church buildings were burned, Bibles were desecrated, and Christians were allegedly tortured and harassed under false accusations of violating the Holy Quran. The Bishop implored law enforcement agencies to take swift action and provide assurance of safety to all citizens, emphasizing the value of lives in a homeland that recently celebrated independence and freedom.

Blasphemy Convictions and Condemnation

The violence echoes previous incidents related to blasphemy allegations. Earlier this year, a 22-year-old Christian man, Noman Masih, was sentenced to death for having blasphemous images on his phone. Human rights organizations condemned the verdict. The incident at hand reflects the ongoing tensions and challenges surrounding blasphemy allegations in Pakistan.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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