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Clerics seek justice over attack on Churches



Muslim mob attacks Churches, property over blasphemy charges
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A crowd in majority-Muslim Pakistan assaulted a Christian locality in an eastern part of the country and set on fire several buildings, including churches.

Local police said the Muslim mob attack had occurred in Jaranwala, a small town in the industrial district of Faisalabad, after a Christian boy was accused of desecrating Islam’s holy book, the Quran

According to unconfirmed sources, the violence was sparked by two men believed to be Christians were falsely accused by the rioters of having desecrated the Koran.

Christian leader Akmal Bhatti said the crowd set fire to at least five churches and looted valuables from abandoned houses after clerics made announcements in mosques to incite them.

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Hundreds of people armed with sticks and rocks stormed churches belonging to various denominations and looted them raising questions as to the real motive for the attacks.

Provincial police Chief Usman Anwar told the online media outlet Dawn that officers cordoned off the area as police tried to negotiate with the crowd. Police also said they were registering cases against those who desecrated the Quran.

“We cry out for justice and action from law enforcement and those who dispense justice,” Marshall said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

In response, Pakistan’s newly appointed caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar said he was “gutted by the visuals coming out of Jaranwala” and promised “stern action.”

“All law enforcement has been asked to apprehend culprits and bring them to justice,” said the prime minister. “Rest assured that the government of Pakistan stands with our citizenry on an equal basis.”

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“Priests and lay people are deeply pained and distressed,” said Pakistani bishop Azad Marshall, in the neighboring city of Lahore. The situation is tense and we are trying to defuse it,” said an official familiar with the incident.


Pakistan’s Bishop Azad Marshall called on the police to act. “As I write this message, a church building is being burned down,” Marshall wrote on the online platform X, previously known as Twitter.

“Bibles have been desecrated and Christians have been tortured and harassed because they were falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran.”, he said.

In one of such incidents in 2020, a Pakistani-U.S. citizen was shot and killed inside a courtroom during his trial.

In 2021, a Sri Lankan national was tortured to death over blasphemy allegations.