Some 25 churches and 75 homes of Christians were burned in Pakistan by Muslim mobs incensed over alleged acts of blasphemy against their religion, contacts from the field report to God Reports, while official sources and media reports give a lower number.
Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate, and churches in the Faisalabad district are being guarded by police forces, as the reign of terror has descended upon the sector.
“The whole country is seemingly falling apart,” says a U.S. pastor who contributes to ministers in the region.
A pastor based in Faisalabad (who will remain unnamed for his security) reported being on edge and unsure about his personal safety.
“Where we have (the Christian) school today, there is (sic) many many Muslims together for burning the churches and school but the police stop them,” he wrote. “In my mother’s church, four policemen are on duty. In the school, 15 policemen are on duty.”
The outbreak started two days ago over reports that a torn page of the Koran was found with blasphemies on it. Outraged Muslims sought the responsible party and turned on the local church, which they burned.
“One young Christian man fight with Muslim men and tell them Mohammad is not true, he is a lie,” the pastor explained.
As news spread about the “blasphemy,” other angry mobs formed and more churches were attacked. Sectors where Christians live concentrated together have also been attacked. The mobs wield sticks and shout angry chants about Allah.
France 24 reported that 120 suspects have been arrested for the acts of vandalism and arson. Video footage uploaded to TikTok show men dismantling the cross on top of a church building.
Christians amount to slightly more than 1% of the population of Pakistan, which is officially called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The religious intolerance stems from its beginnings when it separated from India after India got its independence from Great Britain after World War 2.
Without the British to keep control of the population, the majority Hindu population began to attack the minority Muslim population and amid the ensuing mayhem, a deal was worked out to establish a geographical area to the north of India for Muslims to find refuge.
The idea only became a reality after India unsuccessfully waged war against the secessionist region, which now is Pakistan. Relations between India and Pakistan are still hostile.
Today some Pakistanis are fiercely defensive of their country and religion and view other religions with hostility. Though Pakistan was officially an ally in the War on Terror, many citizens helped Al Qaeda. Osama Bin Ladin, the mastermind behind the Twin Towers attack in New York City, was ultimately tracked down to a hiding place in Pakistan.