» 03/09/2013, 00.00
Lahore, more than 100 Christian homes burned over blasphemy charge
The attack followed altercation between a young Christian and a Islamic barber: the Muslim insulted Christianity and then reported the boy for blasphemy. The mob looted, stoned, doused in acid and then burned the Christian settlement. Local imam: "We'll find the Christian and kill him."
Lahore (AsiaNews) - This morning,
an angry mob set fire to over 100 homes in the Joseph Colony Christian
settlement, near Badami Bah (Lahore). Residents were forced to flee and at least 35 people were
attack resulted from an accusation of blasphemy registered against one of the settlement
residents, Sawan Masih, who yesterday afternoon had an
altercation with a Muslim.
According to initial reports, the
26 year old Christian went to the Islamic barber for a haircut, but the store
owner, Imran Shahid, refused to serve him. A
heated discussion arose between the two, and the Muslim reportedly used
offensive words about Christianity.
Together with other people,
Shahid then went to the nearby police station, the group recorded a charge of
blasphemy against Masih (art.295C), arguing that the young man was drunk and
had insulted the Prophet Muhammad. Shortly
after, the police arrested the Christian. The maximum
penalty under that law is life imprisonment.
The anger of the Islamic
community did not subside however, and this morning a large group of people
ransacked Joseph Colony, then set fire to the homes. "We
were working like every day - Salamat Masih, a resident of the settlement told AsiaNews - when we started to hear a
noise, and suddenly a wall of people fell upon the colony. They threw acid and
stoned our houses, then set them on fire. The authorities intervened only when
everything was destroyed". The
local imam said Sawan will be killed when found.
Human rights associations, such
as Masihi Foundation and Life for All rushed to the scene to help the victims. For Msgr. Rufin
Anthony, bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, "it is very sad to see that
minorities in Pakistan are not safe and are targeted for their religion. It is
vital that we work for national harmony.
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From 8 June Kamran Michael is Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping in the PML-N-led government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. For 10 years a member of the provincial assembly of Punjab, he is the second Christian (after Shahbaz Bhatti) to play a leading role in the executive. A plan for development and the goal of peace.
Save Christians and Pakistan from the blasphemy law
The blasphemy law - prison and death sentences for those who offend the Koran or Muhammad - is a tool to eliminate religious minorities. AsiaNews launches an awareness campaign for its repeal. Because of this law, since 2001 at least 50 Christians have been killed, families and entire villages destroyed. In the country Islamic and Christian voices appeal for its cancellation.
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Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
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