Published: 00:00 GMT Daylight Time - Monday 03 August 2009
Just when Christians in Pakistan thought it couldn't get any worse...
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.
A Christian couple sit in front of their home in Gojra, destroyed in the anti-Christian violence on 2 August, which left seven people dead, 20 injured and scores homeless.
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 Aid, 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 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).
- Prayer for the bereaved and grieving families, and those who are suffering following the loss of their homes.
- Pray for the extremists who instigated the violence in the name of Islam, that the Lord may convict them and change their hearts.
- 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.