Violent crowds attack Christian settlement, Churches in Faisalabad

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A large group of individuals, armed with sticks and clubs, forcibly entered a local Christian settlement situated in the Jaranwala region of Faisalabad during the morning hours of Wednesday. They vandalized at least two churches and adjacent structures, citing allegations of blasphemy against a resident.

This incident triggered a wave of fear and panic within the vicinity, prompting the closure of the local market due to the presence of armed mobs roaming the streets.

Various videos and posts shared by residents on social media indicated that the local populace was agitated through mosque loudspeakers, reacting to reports about the alleged disrespect of religious texts by two Christian residents known as Rocky and Raja.

Although a substantial police force arrived at the scene and attempted to reassure the growing mob that the suspects would be apprehended and dealt with according to the law, the charged crowd proceeded to launch an assault on the settlement.

Christian inhabitants of the area seemed to have fled due to the fear of violence.

The mob also targeted the Salvation Army Church within the settlement, one of the oldest churches in the region. It was reportedly set on fire, and another local church and adjoining structures were also vandalized.

Furniture from within the buildings was gathered on the street and ignited, resulting in fires.

However, no casualties were reported.

Local crowds chanted slogans in support of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik and Khatam-e-Nabuwat, while also demanding the punishment of the alleged offender. Subsequently, the mobs congregated near Mehtab Masjid close to Cinema Chowk.

Residents asserted that had the police acted promptly, the situation might not have spiraled out of control.

Bishop Azad Marshal said, “Words fail me as I write this. We, Bishops, Priests, and lay people are deeply pained and distressed at the Jaranwala incident in the Faisalabad District in Pakistan. A church building is being burnt as I type this message. Bibles have been desecrated and Christians have been tortured and harassed having been falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran. We cry out for justice and action from law enforcement and those who dispense justice and the safety of all citizens to intervene immediately and assure us that our lives are valuable in our homeland that has just celebrated independence and freedom.”

Another user of Twitter wrote, “Horrific persecution of Pakistani Christians taking place right now in Faisalabad. Their homes are being torched.”

A user condemned the incident saying, “Desecration of a Church and Bibles should make us livid. The Bible is also one of God’s books. We must respect others’ beliefs if we want to demand respect for ours. The State must act immediately and hold the perpetrators accountable.”