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ICC Note: On March 9, some 180 Christian homes were torched by an enraged Muslim mob following reports that a Christian man had blasphemed Islam in Lahore, eastern Pakistan. Thousands of Christians held protests throughout the country the next day demanding justice, protection, and the abolishment of Pakistan’s oppressive blasphemy laws. In the city of Jhelum, Muslims threatened to burn more Christian homes if the protests persisted, the Pakistan Daily Times reports. Several prominent politicians and dozens of minorities have been murdered in recent years for condemning the blasphemy law.
By Shamim Masih
3/16/2013 Pakistan (Daily Times Pakistan) – Hundreds of Pakistani Christians became homeless in Badami Bagh, Lahore, on Saturday, March 9 after an attack by a mob of 3000 fanatics. Two hundred homes in the Joseph Colony were turned to ashes and poor Christians of the neighbourhood are now living in the streets, desperate for food and other needs. Their children cannot attend school or college due to the destruction and fear. Many residents have expressed great dismay and sorrow, and depression is seeping through the entire community.
One Sajid Masih said, “I feel helpless and unable to do anything for myself and my family”, as he broke into tears. Christians around the country are incensed by the recurring theme of blasphemy allegation followed by attacks and burning down of their vulnerable communities. They have held protests across the country in a concerted effort to vent their disgust at the recent incident and to show solidarity with the victims.
In Youhanabad and Kot Lakhpat, Lahore police used the opportunity to beat the innocent Christian protesters. They shot tear gas shells at them and beat them with sticks. Yet when the Muslim attack took place they stood back and watched till the town had been razed to the ground. There were protests in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Jhelum and Sahiwal, to name but a few.
Jhelum controversy: Muslims of Jhelum city have threatened to burn Christians home in response to the protests. Now the community is living in fear of reprisals for their simple act of condemning violence and the blasphemy laws of Pakistan. According to sources, on March 12, 2013, when Christians of Jhelum city went to protest against the violence in Joseph Colony, chanting slogans “Repeal Blasphemy Law” and “Blasphemy law is Black Law”, local imams called on Muslims from the mosque loudspeakers to gather and punish those Christians who were decrying the blasphemy law. Local radicals have pressured the area police station to lodge a First Investigation Report – FIR under 295-C PPC against Christians who chanted slogans against the blasphemy laws.

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