Hundreds of Muslim men have attacked a Christian community in Faisalabad's Jaranwala Tehsil. Pakistan, vandalizing several churches and a cemetery and setting hundreds of houses on fire, after accusing its members of desecrating a copy of the Qur’an.
Hundreds of people armed with sticks and rocks stormed a predominantly Christian area in Faisalabad on Wednesday. Images on social media showed smoke rising from church buildings and people setting fire to furniture.
The attack was triggered by a group of religious zealots accusing a local Christian family of desecrating the Qur’an, according to a rescue official at the scene.
“Photos and video clips of burnt pages of the Quran were shared among the locals, which created an uproar,” Rana Imran Jamil, a spokesman for the city’s 1122 rescue service, told AFP by phone.
He said four churches had been set on fire, adding that there were no reports of injuries.
Pakistani bishop Azad Marshall, in the neighboring city of Lahore, said the Christian community was “deeply pained and distressed”.
“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 own homeland,” he posted on the social media platform X.
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in ultra-conservative Pakistan, where anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures can face the death penalty.
Domestic and international human rights groups say blasphemy allegations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities in Pakistan and settle personal scores.