Jaranwala, an industrial town in the Faisalabad province of Pakistan, saw a terrible occurrence when an angry mob, composed mostly of Muslims, attacked a Christian suburb. Churches were among the many structures destroyed during the rampage that began with accusations of blasphemy. The persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan is nothing new, and this occurrence shows that it affects more than just Sikhs; it has now spread to Christians as well.
A young Christian youngster was accused of desecration of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, sparking the outbreak of violence. When tensions rose, the mob wreaked havoc on the nearby Christian neighborhood. Christian leaders have reported widespread damage to various churches and homes, but the Pakistani government has not released specifics about the scope of the damages.
We are very troubled by reports of attacks on churches and private residences in Pakistan in retaliation for destruction of the Quran. We believe that everyone should be allowed the freedom to speak their mind and practice their faith without interference. At a state briefing, Principal Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State Vedant Patel stated, “And as we have previously said, we are always concerned of incidents of religiously motivated violence.” “We urge Pakistani authorities to conduct a full investigation into these allegations and call for calm for all of those involved,” he said.
When asked to describe his feelings about what happened, Azad Marshall, moderator bishop of the Church of Pakistan, said, “Words fail me as I write this. Bishops, priests, and the general public alike express profound sorrow and grief at the tragedy in Jaranwala. The whole Christian community shares Marshall’s pain because of the dark cloud of dread and uncertainty that now hangs over their heads.