Thursday, September 3, 2009

In the Name of Blasphemy, Pakistani Christians Under Frequent Attack - 12

Muslim Extremist Attacks on Christian,
Villages, Churches, Schools, Hospitals
and Church Personnel (contd.)

A Christian house that was ransacked and
set on fire at Bahmaniwala Village by Muslims

Photo Courtesy:

The Anglican Church in Bannu Cantonment
of North-West Frontier Province Vandalized

2009 (May 10): The Anglican church in Bannu Cantonment of the North-West Frontier Province has been vandalized on the night of May 10 by some unknown assailants, who are thought to be Taliban militants active in the region. The church, built in 1857 by the British army, was ransacked and its Bibles and prayer books were burnt.

The church altar was destroyed and the main cross inside the church was broken into pieces. They also damaged the church furniture, musical instruments and inside decorations.

Being inside the army cantonment, this church was considered to be most safe in all of Pakistan.

Pastor Ijaz was in charge of the church. Bishop Mano visited the church and consoled the local Christians and asked them to remain nonviolent and grow stronger in faith on Jesus Christ. He also met with Pakistan Army officers and requested them to investigate the incident and bring the assailants to justice.

Muslim Mob Attacks Bahmaniwala Village
in Kasur District

2009 (June 30): A mob of about 500 Muslims, carrying guns, sticks, hammers and molotov cocktails attacked houses of about 100 Christian families at Bahmaniwala Village in Kasur District of the Punjab Province. Their assault took place after accusations were made over the mosque microphone that Christians blasphemed Prophet Mohammad and, therefore, they were liable to die.

In the two-hour attack that started around 7:30 p.m., the mob set fire on 50 homes, threw acid on women, looted the homes of valuables, and destroyed water pumps.

Bahmaniwal Village is about 65 km away from Lahore City. Before this shameful incident, there were about 600 Muslim and 100 Christian families living there in harmony for years.

On June 29 evening, a quarrel broke out between Sardar Masih (60), a Christian, and Muhammad Riaz, a Muslim. After work in the field, Sardar Masih, with his son Waqas, was returning to the village on his tractor. On his way he found Muhammad Riaz, who was drunk, sitting on his motor bike in the middle of the road. When Sardar requested Muhammad Riaz to more his bike so that he could take his tractor through, the latter due to his intoxication began to swear at Sardar and refused to move. Then one of the friends of Muhammad Riaz slapped Sardar on his face.

Waqas ran to his house and informed Mushtaq, brother of Sardar, of the incident. Mushtaq along with other brothers came out to protect Sardar. As they talked to Muhammad Riaz, he left the place but came in the evening with his friends armed with axes, guns and sticks to Sardar's house and beat his family including his old father and mother.

That night, Mohammad Shafi, the village counselor, came to Sardar's house for reconciliation and asked him not to file any report against Muhammad Riaz. After leaving Sardar's house, on the hand, he advised Muhammad Riaz to file a case against Sardar Masih with the police. Accordingly, the the case was lodged with the police. Qari Lateef, the local Muslim cleric of the mosque, was also involved in advising Muhammad Riaz for lodging blasphemy charges against Christians. He was the one who made several public announcements over the mike that Christians used derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad.

On June 30 at 6:00 p.m. the police went to Mushtaq and Sardar's house to arrest them but they were not at home at the time. The same night at 9:00 p.m. began their attack on the Christian houses.

On the day of the attack, most of the Christian men were away harvesting crops and some others had gone to the Lahore Vegetable Market to sell their stuff. When the mob came, mostly women and children were in their houses.

A distraught Christian girl after she was manhandled
by Muslims during the attack in Bahmaniwals Village

Photo Courtesy:

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