» 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.
Pakistani Christian killed during pilgrimage to the town of Mary
Sunil Masih, 25, left the group travelling to Mariamabad and never returned. The corpse showed signs of injury. Police deny possibility of his being run over by a truck. Identity of the perpetrators of the murder still unknown. The pain of the family, who lost their only son.
Christian minister in Islamabad: Economics and minority rights, here are my challenges
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.
The Catholic Church in Pakistan (An overview)
Catholics are less than 1% of a total of over 160 million inhabitants. There are two archdiocese in the country, four dioceses and an apostolic prefecture. A small minority but active and appreciated for efforts in education, helping the poor, health care and emergency interventions.
Karachi, a Christian sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy
Qamar David was in prison since 2006. In the weeks after his arrest police failed to find any concrete evidence against him. Muslim co-defendant acquitted, for lack of evidence. Christian activists: verdict result of "influences and prejudices” and motivated by “ external pressures ".
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.