Words fail me as I write this. We, Bishops, Priests and lay people are deeply pained and distressed at the Jaranwala incident in the Faisalabad District in Pakistan. A church building is being burnt as I type this message. Bibles have been desecrated and Christians have been… pic.twitter.com/xruE83NPXL
— Bishop Azad Marshall (@BishopAzadM) August 16, 2023
In recent months we’ve had incessant wailing and violence because someone in Sweden burned a copy of the Koran which is considered a holy book within Islam and by apologists for the ideology.
But when Muslim mobs burn churches, it gets a fraction of the attention.
Several churches were set on fire by a rampaging mob in eastern Pakistan on Wednesday after a Christian family was accused of blasphemy, officials said.
Hundreds of people armed with sticks and rocks stormed the predominantly Christian area in Faisalabad city, police in the area told AFP.
Images on social media showed smoke rising from the church buildings and people setting fire to furniture that had been dragged from them.
The Muslim pretext for the attack was the usual one in totalitarian theocracies… blasphemy. Someone had supposedly burned or red-penciled a Koran and the howling mobs quickly gathered.
Bishop Azad Marshall, President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan, said that the priests and ordinary people were deeply pained and distressed at the Jaranwala incident. “A church building is being burnt as I type this message,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Bibles have been desecrated and Christians have been tortured and harassed having been falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran.”
Several churches were vandalised on Wednesday in Pakistan’s Faisalabad over blasphemy allegations. Three churches – Salvation Army Church, United Presbyterian Church, Allied Foundation Church – situated in the Isa Nagri area of Jaranwala tehsil were ransacked by the extremists, a pastor told Pakistan-based Dawn News. Imran Bhatti, the pastor of the Jaranwala tehsil, said that the house of a Christian cleaner, accused of blasphemy, was also demolished.
Punjab police chief Usman Anwar said the police were negotiating with the protesters and the area had been cordoned off.
The official said that efforts were underway to contain the situation by engaging with peace committees and police across the province had been activated. He also informed that the protesters had also turned against the assistant commissioner of the area, a member of the Christian community. The assistant commissioner has been evacuated, Anwar told Dawn. The Christian leaders, however, alleged that the police remained silent spectators.
Pakistan is an Islamic totalitarian state. The police are arms of its Islamic theocracy.
Although Pakistan was founded in 1947 with the intention of creating a tolerant and egalitarian country, religious communities have continued to face discrimination.
Last month, Naveed Walter, the President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan said that the population of minorities in Pakistan has come down to 3 per cent from 23 per cent since its independence in 1947.
“There were multiple reasons behind this. One of the main reasons was when Pakistan was declared an Islamic country. In 1973, when the constitution was established, in Article 2 it was stated that Islam shall be a state religion. In Article 41 (2) it was declared that the President shall always be a Muslim always. Article 91 restated that the Prime Minister shall be a Muslim always. There were multiple amendments in the constitution in the 1980s when the dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq made the amendments in the constitution as per the Sharia law”, said Naveed Walter.
The human rights activist said that the blasphemy law was introduced in the country to target religious minorities. A large number of people have been killed and many languished in jail across Pakistan since its introduction.
This is the reality of Islam. It’s already happening in Europe under the pressure of Islamic migration. And it’s coming to America.
The angry Radical Muslim mob has damaged several Christian houses and set many churches on fire.
— Faraz Pervaiz (@FarazPervaiz3) August 16, 2023