Just when Christians in Pakistan thought it couldn`t get any worse...
From: Barnabus Fund, a charity in England tracking persecution of Christians and sending out aid.
Seven Christians have been burnt alive, including three women and two children, when their houses were set on fire during attacks by Muslim demonstrators.
Following a violent attack on residents of the Christian village of Korian on 30 July (Link), we have received news of further incidents of anti-Christian violence in the nearby town of Gojra, District Faisalabad, Punjab province, on Saturday 1 August. Homes were looted and at least 50 houses were burned down, as a Muslim mob threw petrol bombs and fired indiscriminately.
The attack in Korian, where homes of local Christians were torched, churches vandalised and Bibles desecrated, was allegedly sparked by rumours that a copy of the Qur’an had been burned during a Christian wedding. No one was injured in the attacks in Korian, but tensions continued to rise and fresh violence erupted two days later. According to eye witnesses, more than 800 Muslims carrying a variety of weapons raided a Christian settlement. Incited by broadcasts from local mosques, they looted, vandalised and set fire to houses. Seven Christians died in the flames and at least 20 were injured. There are indications that the attack on the two areas was planned; according to one local Christian, those in surrounding villages and towns began receiving threats as Muslim clerics started preaching hatred and revenge.
Security forces were patrolling the streets on Sunday 2 August and it was reported that there had been no further clashes. The Pakistani government has spoken out in support of local Christians, with the President of Pakistan instructing the Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti to visit the village of Korian, where the violence took place. Bhatti, himself a Christian, is to visit the bereaved families and offer condolences. According to reports, police have charged 816 people, including the district coordination officer and the district police officer, with murder, attempted murder and terrorism. The Chief Minister is expected to visit the affected area today (Monday 3 August), to address Christians and distribute 500,000 rupees (£3,500; US$6,000; €4,200) as compensation to families of murdered Christians.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, says, “In the midst of the spiralling anti- Christian violence in Pakistan, our appeal is to Christians around the world to stand with our brothers and sisters at their time of need. Please pray and, if you are able, give a donation to meet the practical needs of the homeless, injured and bereaved.” Will you help your Christian brothers and sisters in Pakistan with your prayers and gifts at this time? Please send your donation to project 41-839 (Victims of Korian and Gojra Attacks).
If you would like to make a gift for the victims of the recent attacks in Pakistan, please click to donate online using our secure server (Please quote project reference 41-839).
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK (Please quote project reference 41-839).
If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for addresses of our regional offices. (Please quote project reference 41-839).
Please Pray 1. Pray for the bereaved and grieving families, and those who are suffering following the loss of their homes. 2. Pray for the extremists who instigated the violence in the name of Islam, that the Lord may convict them and change their hearts. 3. Praise the Lord that the Pakistani authorities have spoken out against the violence and have acted quickly to bring the perpetrators to justice. Pray that they will follow through on this.