Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

5/25/2024 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) Around 7 a.m., an angry mob attacked an elderly Christian man after claims that he had burned pages from a Quran circulated throughout the Mujahid colony in Gillwala, a predominantly Christian community in Sargodha, Pakistan.

Members of the large mob, which quickly filled the street, brutally beat Nazir Masih, repeatedly kicking him as he lay bleeding on the ground. Masih remains in critical condition at an area hospital.

The mob also looted and burned a shoe shop owned by Masih’s son, Sultan Masih, and burned the family’s home, where Nazir, his two sons, and 10 other family members live.

A total of seven people were reportedly injured in the attack, and police arrested 15 people involved in the incident. Members of Nazir’s family were placed in protective police custody. International Christian Concern (ICC) staff on the ground will assist the family members once authorities release them.

A large mob formed Saturday morning shortly after accusations of blasphemy circulated throughout a predominantly Christian community in Sargodha, Pakistan. (ICC sources)

Several videos of the attack have circulated on social media. ICC obtained additional footage of the attack from sources in the area. One video shows Nazir lying still on the ground, his face bloodied as several men kick his lifeless body. Another shows Nazir sitting on the ground, covered in dust and blood, as the angry mob surrounds him. At one point, a man violently shoves him from behind.

A third video shows men and boys looting Sultan’s shoe shop and burning piles of shoe boxes. Yet another clip shows smoke billowing up from what appears to be the shoe shop.

ICC also obtained footage of another man, a relative of Nazir’s, sitting in a chair with his feet chained together. His face appears to have been beaten as several men stand around him, angrily shouting.

ICC sources in Pakistan reviewed the videos and heard members of the mob shouting slogans commonly used by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), an Islamic extremist party. Authorities arrested members of TLP in August 2023 following the attack on the Jaranwala community, in which a mob of radical Muslims burned more than 200 homes and two dozen churches.

“This is a tragedy. It has been less than a year since the incident in Jaranwala took hundreds of homes, dozens of churches, and many livelihoods,” an ICC staffer said. “Now Islamic radicals are mercilessly beating the elderly on false blasphemy accusations. The existence of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws sends a message to Islamic radicals that this mob violence is justified. The laws are used as a weapon against Christians and allow this behavior to continue among Pakistan’s most vulnerable communities.”

For interviews, please email [email protected].