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Third Christian community in 50 days attacked by Muslims in Pakistan

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Third Christian community in 50 days attacked by Muslims in Pakistan

Country/Region: South and East Asia, Pakistan

Christians in a village in Punjab, Pakistan were forced to evacuate their homes after they were attacked by armed Muslims who threatened to destroy their property; theirs is the third Christian community to come under attack in less than two months.

Christian residents of Eassa Pur village, where the attack took place
Christian residents of Eassa Pur village, where the attack took place

A mob of around 50-60 armed Muslims attacked Christians in Eassa Pur village, Khanewal district, on 26 April. The furious assailants opened fire on the believers after beating them and throwing stones at their houses, which they also threatened to torch.

When the police arrived they took control of the furious mob, evacuating the Christian community to a safe place. Christian communities in nearby villages were also forced to flee their homes after receiving threats against their property.

A Muslim man was killed in the clashes, and two Christians and one Muslim were injured. Police have registered against a case against five Christians following the violence, but they have not pursued legal action against the Muslims who instigated it.

The violent attack followed an incident earlier that day involving Asher Masih, the son of Christian farmer Yaqoob Masih. Two Muslim men came to Asher’s shop and harassed him because Yaqoob, who had originally been pressured into hiring a threshing machine from one of them, had hired a different machine instead because the Muslim had ignored repeated requests to send his. The assailants slapped Asher and beat him brutally, and the mob violence broke out just hours later.

Muslims in the village had also threatened to burn down Christian property during a previous attack on 6 April. A group of Muslims beat local Christians severely when a dispute broke out because two Christian men were sitting on mats that were not facing towards Mecca. After this attack, tensions continued to run high despite a contract of compromise being signed by both parties.

Some local Christians believe that Muslims are using any excuse to create hostilities in order to take over Christian property. Asher and Yaqoob Masih are major landowners in the village, and another prominent local Christian was accused by Muslims of being involved in the clashes despite not being present at the time.

Eassa Pur is traditionally a Christian village, but in recent decades the number of Christian landowners has dwindled as Muslim residents have taken over their land by various means. Only 50-60 Christian families now remain in what has become a strongly Muslim area.

A disturbing trend

Outbreaks of violence against entire Christian communities in response to personal disputes are becoming disturbingly frequent; this attack is the third of its kind in recent months. In Joseph Colony, Lahore, a Muslim mob torched 178 Christian homes on 9 March after a local Christian was accused of blasphemy following an exchange with a Muslim friend.

Then, on 3 April, Muslim extremists attacked a Christian neighbourhood in Francis Colony, Gujranwala, following a minor dispute between Muslim and Christian youths. A church building was ransacked and dozens of shops and vehicles vandalised after Muslims were incited over mosque loudspeakers to “teach the Christians a lesson”.

This latest incident shows that the attitudes of many Muslims in the area towards their Christian neighbours have changed little in the last 16 years. Just 10-15 kilometres away from Eassa Pur is Shanti Nagar, where a similar incident took place in February 1997. On that occasion, Muslim extremists burned down 850 Christian homes and 13 church buildings.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 14 hours ago

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Indians have started going to the polls this week in a general election that is taking place in phases until 12 May. The ruling, secular Congress party is expected to be defeated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This would be an ominous outcome for the country’s Christian minority. The BJP has given support to extremist groups that attack Christians; states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. It has introduced anti-conversion laws on a state level, and has pledged to introduce national legislation to curb "missionary" activity and end proselytising if elected nationally. Pray for wisdom for Indians as they vote and that the outcome will result in a just government that upholds the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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