21 March 2018
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  •    - Afghanistan
  •    - Bangladesh
  •    - Bhutan
  •    - India
  •    - Nepal
  •    - Pakistan
  •    - Sri Lanka
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 01/13/2016, 00.00


    Baath: for local pastor, church fire not due to religious hatred

    Kamran Chaudhry

    Overnight on 6 January, a fire partially destroyed the Christian place of worship. Some media have blamed Christian-Muslim tensions for the incident. For local clergyman, this is “a conspiracy to stoke tensions in the area”. Some “people started reporting on it without getting the facts straight”.

    Lahore (AsiaNews) – The fire that partially destroyed the Apostolic church on 6 January in Baath, some 40 kilometres north of Lahore, was not set following a row between Christians and Muslims over its loudspeakers during Muslim prayers, this according to the church’s pastor, Rev Yaqoob Saroya. Spreading such news is “a conspiracy to stoke tensions in the area”.

    Christian and Muslim community elders in the Punjabi village back the clergyman’s account. For them, media are spreading false news. In fact, some reports claimed that before the incident local Muslims had asked Christians to turn off the church’s loudspeakers to avoid disturbing their prayers. The church pastor allegedly said no and the fire was thus a retaliation by Islamic extremists.

    "We found foot and hand prints on the Church wall", said Rev Yaqoob Saroya, "suggesting someone climbed in but nobody reached out to us regarding the use of loudspeakers; there was no conflict. In fact, a neighbouring Muslim family helped in extinguishing the fire. Someone uploaded a video of Church building on fire on Facebook and people started reporting on it without getting the facts straight".

    Abdul Hameed, the local Muslim nambardar (landowner exercising governmental powers) said that local Muslims are looking for the culprit who broke into the church.

    "We feel grief and stand together with Christians because all religious places of worship are the same. The devil (i.e. the arsonist) does not deserve forgiveness. We cannot live without the support of Christians,” he said. “They are our backbone," he added.

    Rev Saroya reiterated that Christians are free to worship. "Five police officers are stationed at the church during the service,” he explained.

    Rumours about the blaze are “a conspiracy to stoke tensions in the area. We live like brothers. A Christian NGO said we should file a complaint against someone with police; another told us that we should not have repainted the church so soon (see video). This does not help minorities or the country.”

    Police said the fire was caused by an electrical problem. The flames destroyed part of the building, chairs, carpets, curtains and the electrical system.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    30/01/2017 14:05:00 PAKISTAN
    Caritas Lahore: Deep disappointment at acquittal of arsonists of Christian quarter

    In 2013 the Joseph Colony was set on fire. A crowd of 3 thousand Muslims wanted to avenge an alleged blasphemy. Christian lawyer warns of risk retaliation in sponsoring cases of religious persecution. Leaders of Punjab have "great alliances with jihadist groups".


    11/10/2007 PAKISTAN
    Lahore: extremists attack church, beat children
    Armed with guns and steel rods, Islamic extremists attack the New Apostolic Church in Hadyara. A final attack is announced for the end of Ramadan, nearby mosque loudspeakers warn.

    20/04/2016 18:16:00 PAKISTAN
    For Lahore Franciscan, Amoris Laetitia is a reconciliation tool for Catholics

    Fr Victor Sawera heads a Franciscan centre in Lahore. He is personally involved in spiritual outreach with 30 families. He began working with Catholic couples when he was ordained eight years ago. Poverty and extra-marital relations are the main challenges.

    20/05/2016 20:20:00 PAKISTAN
    Lahore attack: Christians and Muslims thank Caritas for financial aid

    Caritas Pakistan hands out cheques worth US$ 380 to 19 beneficiaries, including four Muslim families. The Taliban’s Easter Sunday attack killed 78 and wounded 350, mostly Muslims. “I pray to Allah that others follow the example of the Christians,” Muslim doctor says.

    14/07/2016 17:27:00 PAKISTAN
    Lahore: Christian foundation against the new metro line going through church land

    City’s 27 km Orange Line Metro Train project threatens 27 heritage sites, 11 of which are protected under federal law and six under provincial law. Four churches dating back to the mid-19th century would be affected, including the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection. For activist, “we [. . .] will not sit back and let anyone destroy this 2000-year-old city”.

    Editor's choices

    Putin's victory seen from West and East

    Xi Jinping sent a highly congratulatory message. Japan and Germany issued polite words. The Observatory for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticised restrictions on fundamental freedoms. Tensions with Britain remain over the ex-spy poisoning. For Chinese scholar, as the West continues to attack Russia and China, the two will move closer.

    NPC: silence on constitutional amendment, scripted media coverage

    John Ai

    Spokespeople provide scripted answers to scripted questions. Various “foreign” media are funded by China as propaganda tools. The end of term limits for Xi Jinping is the will of the people even though the people did not know about it.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSSRSS channel 


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®