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Christians accused of blasphemy shot dead in Pakistan

By on Thursday, 22 July 2010

Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad has urged Christians to remain peaceful (Photo: ACN)

Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad has urged Christians to remain peaceful (Photo: ACN)

Two Christians have been killed, a church ransacked and shops burned as Muslim-Christian tensions erupted into five hours of violence in Faisalabad earlier this week.

Police restored order and dispersed the crowds by using shellfire. One day later, the situation remained tense, according to the Asian church news agency UCA News.

The murdered Christians were brothers who had been charged with publishing and distributing a blasphemous, anti-Islamic pamphlet. They were shot dead as they arrived at court to face the charges.

Five priests rushed to court after hearing the news and saw the bodies. Some were critical of the light security arrangements for the accused men.

Dominican Fr Pascal Paulus said: “We had been demanding more security for them, but we never expected this. Only three police guards was insufficient.”

The deaths sparked a series of street clashes between Christians and Muslims, who raided Holy Rosary Catholic church, pelting it with stones and causing extensive damage. Local mosques are said to have made provocative announcements over their loudspeakers, encouraging the violence, according to UCA News.

Afterward, church offices, including the local Caritas headquarters, remained closed, and some Christians fled their homes. Police said they arrested 60 Muslims.

A memorial service was held for the brothers at the city’s Cathedral of Ss Peter and Paul the next day, on July 20. The congregation had to be escorted in and out by police.

Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, who celebrated the Mass, said: “We urge Christians to remain peaceful, but we also demand that the real culprits be brought to justice. Minorities have suffered a lot.”

At Masses on Sunday, Fr Paulus told parishioners not to discuss Islamic doctrine.

“Our survival depends on this,” he said. “Respect Islam and try to be tolerant and peaceful.”

On July 10, his church was stoned by a crowd of 100 Muslims carrying sticks and glass bottles, UCA News reported. Local Christians guarded the church for several nights after the incident.

  • Lldieyyei

    Marrying six year old girls, beating wife, Killing kafirs, killing murtads, sharing war booty, enslaving women captured in war these are all the teachings of Prophet Mohammad. So what do you get following it ?
    Well 72 houris (virgins) and 28 Gilmans (boys) with you can have sex. What a perverted religion !

  • Salaam545454

    How can you characterise Islam only by the most negative and harmful actions of Muslims? What if I were to describe Christianity in the same way, by reference to the Crusades, the Inquisition…? No, we should respect one another's religion and seek to discover what is best in them.

  • Jamie MacNab

    For all the good Moslems I have met in my life, and for all our friendships, I do think they follow a most unsatisfactory religion. Perhaps it is the unfortunate language employed in their holy books that keeps the warlike spirit alive.

  • From the Wilderness

    Salaam: Well, the difference is that Christ never condoned that kind of behaviour. The so called Prophet, however, enjoined warfare and violence on his followers. In that respect Islam differs from all the other great religions. Buddha never owned slaves, married 6 year olds or killed entire clans. Jesus never stoned adulterers or lit fires on his enemies' chests. Islam is from the devil. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan and turned him away. Muhammad on the other hand decided to take the offer and hence became a warlord and empire builder.