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09/13/2023 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Last month, more than 200 houses and two dozen churches in Pakistan were burned in an attack on the Christian community of Jaranwala by a mob of radical Muslims.

While the exact motivations of the attackers remain unclear, the event is understood to have been motivated by religious intolerance, sparked by accusations of blasphemy against Christians in the community.

Multiple international news sources have now reported on the uptick in blasphemy allegations in Pakistan, especially toward religious minorities like Christians. In the wake of this mob violence in Jaranwala that was spurred on by such accusations, other Christian communities are becoming increasingly worried that they could be the next target. Pakistani police have responded by deploying to Jaranwala and surrounding communities to prevent further unnecessary violence.

Just weeks after the deadly attack on Jaranwala, police stopped one such incident in the village of Dhok Syedan from escalating to the point of violence. What seems to have begun as an attempt to extort money from a Christian in the village by a Muslim, led overnight to precautionary evacuations by many of the families living there when the extorter attempted to stir other Muslims in the area to an attack against the community. These evacuations happened as word spread quickly within the community that a similar incident to what took place in Jaranwala would soon escalate in their village.

Although the police were able to step in and deescalate this situation before violence occurred, that response is seen as an outlier. Tension remains in the air as Christians in these communities continue to feel unsafe in their own homes, and untrusting toward government officials.

In response to this near-violent incident, the government has downplayed the danger and has insisted that they have the best interests of residents of all faiths in mind. However, that has done little to ease the panic in the Pakistani Christian minority, and unease remains high between them and their Muslim neighbors.

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