02/23/2012, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Faisalabad: Islamic extremists attack Christian community, two faithful injured

Grace Ministry Church targeted by fundamentalists for allegedly proselytizing. A Muslim family living in the area reports community. One person risks arm amputation from bullet wounds, a second thrown from the roof of the building.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A dozen armed Muslims stormed the Grace Ministry Church in Faisalabad, seriously wounding two Christians. Sajid Masih was hit by bullets and is in critical condition in hospital, the man risks having his amputated arm. Another member of the Protestant community, Boota Masih, was pushed from the roof - a height of about six meters - after being struck repeatedly with a rifle butt. The extremist raid was sparked by charges that church was trying to evangelize Muslims in an attempt to convert them to Christianity. The community several times in the past has been the subject of assault and the pastor and his family the subject of death threats.

Sources of Pakistan Christian Post reported that Sajid (pictured) and Boota were transported to hospital for a delicate operation, which lasted over four hours. Doctors have removed a bullet from Sajid's arm, but his condition remains serious and they may decide to amputate the arm that is at risk of gangrene. The bullet pierced the arm and is lodged in his rib.

The attack took place at Grace Ministry Church yesterday and the Christian community is still in shock. Meanwhile, the police, instead of pursuing the perpetrators of violence, have opened an investigation against the Rev. Altaf Khan - pastor of the community - and 20 other faithful. The agents have already arrested the driver Pervaiz Masih, another Christian faithful called Nazish Nadeem, along with two guards, security officers, Rafiq Masih and Shahzad.

The Protestant church was founded in 1987 and has recently undergone intense pressure attacks, and allegations of proselytizing. Over the past two months, says Rev. Khan, "I and my family have received death threats from extremists and terrorists." The charge of proselytism was made by the only Muslim family, who lives in the street home to the Grace Ministry Church Faisalabad. "Some Christian groups and Muslims - said the rev. Khan -jealous of our ministry have financed and supported terrorist groups in their attacks."

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