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Pakistan arrests 129 Muslims after mob assaults church buildings and houses of minority Christians

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JARANWALA, Pakistan — Police arrested greater than 100 Muslims in in a single day raids from an space in jap Pakistan the place a Muslim mob angered over the alleged desecration of the Quran by a Christian man attacked church buildings and houses of minority Christians, prompting authorities to summon troops to revive order, officers stated Thursday.

There have been no casualties as Christians residing in a residential space within the metropolis of Jaranwala within the Faisalabad district shortly moved to safer locations together with their households following one of many nation’s most threatening assaults towards Christians.

Christians slowly returned to their houses Thursday, solely to see the destruction of at the least one church that was burned. 4 different church buildings have been additionally broken. Two dozen houses have been torched or badly broken in the course of the riots.

“We have been sitting at dwelling when immediately we heard {that a} mob is coming and it’s burning houses and attacking church buildings,” stated Shazia Amjad, as she wept exterior her dwelling, which was torched on Wednesday.

She informed The Related Press that the rioters burned home items and furnishings. A few of Amjad’s possessions have been stolen as she moved to a safer place together with her household, she added.

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Amjad stated the rioters sprinkled petrol to burn houses of their space, they usually additionally stole jewellery and different issues. Different Christians described related ordeals and expressed bewilderment.

Native Christians consoled one another exterior their broken houses, as many ladies wept and cried over the destruction. These whose houses have been burned had no concept the place to go or what to do now.

On Wednesday, Khalid Mukhtar, an area priest, informed the AP that almost all Christians residing within the space had fled to safer locations. “Even my home was burned,” he stated, including that he believes most of Jaranwala’s 17 church buildings had been attacked.

Delegations of Muslim clerics arrived in Jaranwala to assist calm the scenario, as troops and police patrolled the world.

Native authorities have shut colleges and workplaces and banned rallies for every week to forestall extra violence.

The violence drew nationwide condemnation, with caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul-ul-Haq Kakar ordering police to make sure the rioters are arrested.

On Thursday, Rizwan Khan, the regional police chief, stated 129 suspects had been arrested and the scenario was below management.

The violence erupted after some Muslims residing within the space claimed that they had seen an area Christian, Raja Amir, and his pal tearing out pages from a Quran, throwing them on the bottom and writing insulting remarks on different pages.

Police say they’re making an attempt to arrest Amir to find out whether or not he desecrated Islam’s holy e-book.

Based on Khan, the mob shortly gathered and commenced attacking a number of church buildings and several other Christian houses. The rioters additionally attacked the workplaces of a metropolis administrator on Wednesday, however police finally intervened, firing into the air and wielding batons to disperse rioters with the assistance of Muslim clerics and elders.

Movies and photographs posted on social media present an offended mob descending upon a church, throwing items of bricks and burning them. In one other video, 4 different church buildings are attacked, their home windows damaged as attackers throw furnishings out and set it on fireplace.

In yet one more video, a person is seen climbing to the roof of the church and eradicating the metal cross after repeatedly hitting it with a hammer as the gang down on the highway cheered him on.

The violence drew condemnation from varied home and worldwide human rights teams.

Amnesty Worldwide referred to as for repealing the nation’s blasphemy legal guidelines.

Below the nation’s blasphemy legal guidelines, anybody discovered responsible of insulting Islam or Islamic spiritual figures may be sentenced to dying. Whereas authorities have but to hold out a dying sentence for blasphemy, typically simply the accusation may cause riots and incite mobs to violence, lynching and killings.

Home and worldwide human rights teams say blasphemy allegations have typically been used to intimidate spiritual minorities in Pakistan and settle private scores.


Ahmed reported from Islamabad. Related Press writers Asim Tanveer from Multan and Babar Dogar from Lahore, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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