Lahore, more than 100 Christian The attack followed altercation between a young Christian
homes burned over blasphemy charge
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."تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة تم تعديل ابعاد هذه الصورة. انقر هنا لمعاينتها بأبعادها الأصلية.
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 injured. The 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.