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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 07/16/2010, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Christians flee violence by Islamic extremists in Faisalabad



    Local mosque launches protest action against Christians in Waris Pura. Police and government prevent more incidents. Yesterday, flyers calling for mass action against Christians were handed out. A Catholic church was attacked with rocks and stones. An alleged case of blasphemy involving two Christian brothers is the cause of the latest episode of anti-Christian violence, which brings back memories of last year’s destruction in Korian and Gojra.

    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – A large number of Christians has fled Waris Pura, on the outskirts of Faisalabad, fearing violence, after Muslims launched a protest action that started at a local mosque after Friday prayers. The risk of attacks against Christians and their property is very high, a source in Faisalabad told AsiaNews, choosing anonymity for security reasons. Yesterday, hundreds of Islamic militants joined a protest march, calling for the death of two Christian brothers accused of blasphemy. During the procession, the mob stoned a Catholic church. An alleged booklet with offensive words about Prophet Muhammad is the reason for the rising tensions.

    Contacted by AsiaNews, Fr Pascal Paulus, parish priest at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, said that “today’s demonstration was peaceful” and “went off without any incident.” This was made possible by “the government’s intervention” which “helped the dialogue with Muslim leaders”. The “massive presence of police” was also key in preventing acts of violence.

    Fr Pascal noted that both Christians and Muslims want “Pakistan to prosper”. He insisted that all men of faith must “work for peace and dialogue;” nevertheless, he did confirm that “a climate of fear” prevails among Christians. Still, there is hope in lasting and peaceful coexistence.

    Earlier, local Muslim leaders had called on Muslims to join en masse in today’s demonstration. Local sources told AsiaNews that “flyers were handed out at the mosque and door to door” with threats against Christians.

    In Waris Pura, a suburb of Faisalabad (Punjab) and a former Christian ghetto with some 100,000 residents, tensions are in fact still running high. For this reason, “a large number of Christians fled”.

    Tensions went further up yesterday when a similar protest march of hundreds of Islamic militants demanded the death of the two Christian brothers accused of blasphemy. As they went by Holy Rosary Catholic Church, they threw rocks and stones at the building. In previous days, additional attacks were recorded in the predominantly Christian neighbourhood.

    At the root of the crisis is a blasphemy accusation levelled at Rev Rashid Emmanuel and his brother Sajid. The two were arrested on 2 July for allegedly writing insulting words against the prophet Muhammad. They have rejected the accusation but are now facing the death penalty.

    Christians living in the area have fled because of past experiences. Mobs of Muslims, whipped up by their religious and tribal leaders, invoking the so-called blasphemy law, attacked and torched Korian and Gojra, two Christian villages in Punjab.

    The brutal attack, which occurred between the end of July and 1 August 2009, left seven Christian dead, including women and children, as well as hundreds of homes and a few churches destroyed.

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    See also

    31/05/2011 PAKISTAN
    Punjab: armed gang attacks Protestant clergyman who is saved by Muslims
    Muslim extremists ambush the pastor, fire at his car. The pastor and the people travelling with him were able to escape and find refuge in a Muslim village. Residents, who fired back at the attackers, force them to flee. “They want to kill Christian voices in Pakistan.”

    08/09/2009 PAKISTAN
    Gojra: Muslim leaders make false accusations, Christians demand justice
    A Muslim association blames three Catholic priests and a layman for the violence in Gojra. The Punjab government stops paying out the compensation it had initially allocated for victims. The Christian community wants the blasphemy law repealed and the guilty punished.

    19/07/2010 PAKISTAN
    On trial for blasphemy, two Christian brothers murdered in Faisalabad
    Rashid Emmanuel and Sajid Masih Emmanuel were shot to death outside the courthouse right after a trial hearing. Both were handcuffed on their way back to prison. Police were going to clear them of the accusations. For days, Muslim religious leaders had incited Muslim faithful against the two, calling for their death.

    22/03/2010 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Christian couple refuses to convert: husband is burnt alive, wife raped by police
    Both husband and wife worked for a wealthy Muslim businessman in Rawalpindi. Their three children, ranging from 7 and 12, were forced to watch their parents brutalised. The man has suffered 80 per cent burns, and hospital doctors do not think he will survive. Christian organisations stage protests.

    17/10/2012 PAKISTAN
    Rimsha Masih's trial adjourned to 14 November as anti-Christian violence continues
    The High Court in Islamabad delays the trial before deciding whether to drop the blasphemy charges or not. The girl's lawyers want the case thrown out of court. In Karachi, a mob of extremists attack St Francis Catholic Church. In Faisalabad, Christians praying for Malala Yousafzai come under attack.



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