Christian Homes in Lahore Damaged Following Blasphemy Accusation
Following an accusation of blasphemy being leveled against a Christian in Lahore, Pakistan, a mob reportedly attacked a Christian neighborhood, damaging both homes and a local church. Humayun Masih allegedly was witnessed burning pages of the Quran, a crime which in Pakistan carries the death penalty. Following the accusation, a mob of Muslims was instigated by a local cleric which attacked the nearby Christian neighborhood. False accusations of blasphemy and the mob violence that often follows continues to be among the toughest issues faced by Pakistan’s Christian community.
5/27/2015 Pakistan (Catholic Herald) – A mob has reportedly attacked Christian homes and a church in Pakistan after blasphemy allegations were made against a Christian man.
According to reports by the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), the Pakistani Christian human rights group, a number of local men opened fire, threw missiles and threatened to kill Christians in Sandha, Lahore, after 27-year-old Humayun Masih was accused of burning pages of the Koran. The incident took place on Sunday.
Father-of-two Mr. Masih, who is believed to be mentally unstable, was arrested and placed in police custody, where the hospital diagnosed him as unstable.
Witnesses claim a local cleric provoked the people in Sandha and as a result local Muslims gathered around and started throwing stones at the Christian houses and local church. They also threatened to burn homes in the area, as happening during the March 2013 incident in Joseph Colony, when over 100 houses were ransacked and torched.
Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS UK, said: “Although blasphemy is a very sensitive issue, nobody should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. While Pakistan has local police and courts to punish those who commit such crimes, even on mere accusations being made against Christians, local Muslims turn violent and attack whole communities that have nothing to do with the individual’s act. This is simple growing hatred against Christians.”
He said there are several examples where one individual has been accused of committing blasphemy and their whole village is set on fire.