In Pakistan’s Faisalabad, several churches were destroyed, and the nearby Christian communities were pillaged after a Christian family was accused of blasphemy.
The incident happened on Wednesday in the Jaranwala neighborhood of Faisalabad. After a Christian guy who works as a cleaner allegedly made disparaging remarks about the Quran, the neighborhood Muslims became furious. Along with destroying his home, the mob also caused damage to nearby churches and other Christian enclaves.
Social media videos depicted a hysterical mob storming churches and kicking the holy cross, which is a Christian sign of devotion.
Videos also showed Muslim clerics calling for a crowd uprising if the police did nothing to stop the “blasphemers”
Usman Anwar, the head of the Punjab police, reportedly told Dawn that the area had been sealed off and that negotiations were taking on with the protesters. Local Christians, however, alleged that the police did little to stop the looting of their homes while they watched in silence.
According to Dawn, the police filed a first information report (FIR) against the accused Christian man under Pakistan Penal Code sections 295B (defiling, etc., of the Holy Quran) and 295C (using disparaging words, etc., in regard of the Holy Prophet).
Police chief Usman Anwar told Dawn that there are “narrow lanes [in the area] where small two to three marla churches are located and there is one main church… they have vandalized portions of the churches.”
Azad Marshall, the president bishop of the Church of Pakistan, posted on X (previously Twitter), claiming that Christians had been “falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran” and that Bibles had been desecrated as well as tortured and harassed.
Bishop Marshall stated, “We want justice and action from law enforcement and those who administer justice and the protection of all people to act promptly and reassure us that our lives are valuable in our own homeland that has just celebrated independence and freedom.
Afrasiab Khattak, a former senator, remarked, “This is unacceptable. Security for non-Muslims’ places of worship has not been provided by the Pakistani government. Extremists and terrorists have gained confidence as a result of the impunity for crimes committed in the name of religion. Bring the criminals to justice.