Sticks, stones and knives: Muslims mob attacks Lahore Christians on Christmas day
by Shafique Khokhar

Some Muslim boys began offending and insulting Christian girls, resulting in a brawl among young people. A crowd of 30-35 Muslims intervened violently, even entering the homes of Christians to beat women and children. In the clashes, seven Christians were wounded, hit by stones; one was wounded with a knife. The police made no arrests.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - It was supposed to be a holy day full of joy, but it become one of sorrow and cruelty in Lahore.

At the end of the December 25 liturgical service in the Evangelical Church near the Khadim Colony, in the Amarsadhu area, some families with boys and girls were crossing the market, when young Muslims began to offend Christian girls hurling insults and obscene proposals at them.

Some of the Christian kids tried to get them to stop and a fight ensued. At that point, 30-35 Muslim men intervened throwing stones and beating the Christians, trying to damage their homes as well. In the clash, seven Christians were wounded, hit by stones; one was wounded by a knife.

Rasheed Masih, the security guard of the Evangelical Church says that it is the first time that this type of incident has occurred in their area, even if several times there have been fights between young Christians and Muslims. But this time the attack came from a crowd.

Masih says that young Muslims began to call Christian girls, elegantly dressed up, "choorian" and proposed to take them and spend the whole day with them. "Choori" is a very offensive Urdu term that is used for "untouchable" (pariah) scavengers and slaves. Often the term is used in a derogatory way by Muslims to refer to Christians.

The security guard said that out of intolerance, some Muslims even tried to enter the church compound to do damage, but he managed to stop them.

Saleem Iqbal, a human rights activist, recalls that after the clashes, Christians captured two Muslims and handed them over to some policemen, but they released them saying that they must first open an investigation and then arrest them.

Yesterday, Christian lawyer Sharjeel, along with some policemen, went to the home of one of the main suspects in the violence. The Muslim went out in front of his house and told them that it was a Muslim house, with women inside and therefore no one could enter.

Sharjeel pointed out to him that days before, he and other friends of his had entered the home of Christians, where there were women and children and this had not stopped them, on the contrary they began to beat innocent people.

Until now, the police has not made any arrests.