Pakistan Muslim Militants Attack Church | Pakistan | Asia/Pacific
An uneasy calm returned Monday, October 15, to the village of Gowindhi, near Pakistan's second largest city of Lahore, after a violent mob of Muslims "ransacked and desecrated" the local evangelical New Apostolic Faith church, rights investigators said.
"A Muslim mob mounted on the roof of the church and hurled down its loud speakers," on Wednesday October 10, said Khalid Gill, the regional director for Pakistan's Punjab province of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), a major advocacy group.
"The mob of Muslim extremists also tried to destroy the boundary walls of the church and put manure on them." They allegedly ripped up the Bible's Book of Psalms and other Christian literature in the church. They also destroyed all the musical instruments, which were used during the praise and worship, Gill said.
Suspects were still at large Monday, October 15, apparently because local police refused to take action against them. Officials were not immediately available for comment. A 26-year-old Christian youth Sattar Masih witnessing the attack said he had informed the church's pastor, identified as Pastor Pervaiz, about the Muslim attack at the church.
The pastor contacted police, but they "blatantly refused" to take action against the militants, local Christians and investigators said. A delegation of local Christian leaders, including a former member of Lahore's district's council, protested the refusal by police to intervene. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Gill said police officials have been "forcing" local Christians and their leadership to reconcile themselves with Muslim hardliners. The latest attack underscored religious tensions in the region. Muslim shopkeepers of Gowindhi village, apparently encouraged by Muslim militants, have reportedly stopped selling kitchen and other house hold items to Christian residents in the village.
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