A Muslim mob attacked a Christian community in eastern Pakistan after some members were accused of desecrating the Quran, resulting in churches, homes, and even a cemetery being vandalized and set on fire.
When you are told Pakistan is land of the pure, it’s a lie. It’s quite literally the opposite. The people who desecrated this church, burned it down & those who support such madness are all guilty. We have degenerated in the name of religion. Mullahs & military are main culprits pic.twitter.com/tMpmR7mQQg
— Omer Azhar (@OmerAzhar96) August 16, 2023
A predominantly Christian area in the city of Faisalabad was stormed by hundreds of people armed with sticks and rocks on August 16th. A rescue official at the scene said a group of religious zealots accusing a local Christian family of burning the Quran sparked the attack.
“Photos and video clips of burnt pages of the Qur’an were shared among the locals, which created an uproar,” Rana Imran Jamil, a spokesperson for the city’s 1122 rescue service, said, adding that four churches were set on fire and no injuries were reported.
Persecution of minorities and their religious places continues unabated in #Pakistan!
In video , a church has been torched in #Jaranwala Pakistan. Earlier 3 churches have been burned & the extremists r heading to burn the 4th one in Faisalabad.@hrw @ARanganathan72 @UN_HRC pic.twitter.com/zurWB8vI9F
— ManhasAnupama (@manhas_anupama) August 16, 2023
Akmal Bhatti, a local Christian leader, said the vigilante Muslim mob burned at least five churches and looted several valuables from houses abandoned by their Christian owners after clerics incited the mobs.
A bishop in the neighboring city of Lahore, Right Rev Azad Marshall, said the Christian community was “deeply pained and distressed.”
“We cry out for justice and action from law enforcement and those who dispense justice and the safety of all citizens to intervene immediately and assure us that our lives are valuable in our own homeland,” he posted on X, previously known as Twitter.
Imagine we did this to mosques in the West.
Here are Muslims destroying the cross and one of several churches over allegations that some Christian disrespected the Quran.pic.twitter.com/UOPUfaZ9xg
— Ridvan Aydemir | Apostate Prophet (@ApostateProphet) August 16, 2023
Images of smoke rising from the torched church buildings and furniture being set on fire circulated on social media, while footage of mobs storming churches and burnt homes and churches were widely viewed and shared on various social media platforms.
“Just like these barbarians were demanding the boycott of Swedish products after a copy of the Quran was burned in Sweden, how many Christians in the West are going to start the hashtags #BoycottPakistan and #SanctionPakistan for burning the Bibles, Churches, and houses of Christians?” Writer and ex-Muslim Harris Sultan said after posting a short clip of vigilante mobs storming Christian churches.
Just like these barbarians were demanding the boycott of Swedish products after a copy of the Quran was burned in Sweden, how many Christians in the West are going to start the hashtags #BoycottPakistan and #SanctionPakistan for burning the Bibles, Churches, and houses of… pic.twitter.com/w7iIxCuYZ0
— Harris Sultan (@TheHarrisSultan) August 16, 2023
“Christian homes and churches are burnt by a vigilante mob in Pakistan over alleged case of blasphemy.” UK-based human rights activist and spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) Ali Malik said after uploading a video of a mob confronting a group of Pakistani law enforcers after Christian homes and churches were burned. “This is why it’s important to keep blaspheming. It’s to tackle this hateful and violent ideology.”
Christian homes and churches are burnt by a vigilante mob in Pakistan over alleged case of blasphemy.
This is why it’s important to keep blaspheming. It’s to tackle this hateful and violent ideology.
Blaspheme in solidarity.
Blaspheme for #ApostasyDay
— Ali Malik (@apostateali) August 16, 2023
There were videos of local Muslim leaders using mosque loudspeakers, urging their followers to demonstrate. One Muslim cleric was heard in a video saying, “Christians have desecrated the Holy Qur’an. All the clerics, all the Muslims should unite and gather in front of the mosque. Better to die if you don’t care about Islam.”
Ahad Noor, a district government official, said that “there is a standoff between the police and the crowds. The crowds are not backing down. Police and Rangers have been deployed to control the situation,” referring to a paramilitary force.
Blasphemy is a very sensitive topic in the ultra-conservative, Muslim-majority nation, with Islamist politicians, activists, and political parties often rallying around the issue and passing harsh laws to suppress it. Religious minorities are often victims of unfounded accusations of blasphemy, including Christians, which only make up 2% of Pakistan’s population. They are often isolated and placed in the lowest rungs of society.