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Christians Ask for their Church Back on Easter in Lahore

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address Contact Jeremy Sewall, Policy Analyst, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, [email protected].

(April 2, 2008) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that hundreds of Christians, led by newly elected local government officials, protested the demolition of the Church of Christ in New Garden Town, Lahore, on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008, in front of the Lahore Press Club. The Church of Christ had been demolished by a mob with bulldozers on December 16, 2007, with the tacit consent of the police who were present at the church’s destruction.

Members of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, several members of the Lahore District Council, and local politicians led a group of Christians in the Easter demonstration since they could not hold an Easter service in their church. The demonstrators, who held a cross in one hand and a Bible in the other, set their clothes on fire and offered Easter prayers on the road as a protest. They demanded equal rights and the protection of religious minorities and their properties.

Bhagat Arif Javed, Bishop of the Pakistan Masihi Roohani Kalisia [Church] led the protestors in prayer.

Mr. Peter Gill, former Member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, addressed the gathering and said that the police and the provincial and local administrations remained silent at the shocking incident. Other speakers vowed to continue their struggle to reclaim the church and bring justice to those who desecrated it.

The Christian community claims that the mob desecrated a Cross, a Bible, and other sacred publications in the December 2007 attack. In addition, the mob did not restrict itself to demolishing the church, but also forcibly evicted Christian families from their homes in the neighborhood around the church.

Please contact the Pakistani embassy in your country and ask them to protect the rights of Christians and all religious minorities.

Pakistan Embassies:

USA: (202) 243-6500, [email protected]

Canada: (613) 238-7881, [email protected]

UK: 0870-005-6967, [email protected]

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ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.