- Churches and homes belonging to Christians have been attacked by Muslim mobs in Punjab province of Pakistan following a religious violence
- The attackers claimed that a man desecrated the Holy Qur'an and should be seriously dealt with alongside other Christians
- The government has waded in and made several arrests, although the damage had already been done
Jaranwala, Pakistan - Religious violence has erupted in Pakistan as a violent mob of citizens torched at least five churches and vandalised Christian houses due to blasphemy allegations.
Muslims in eastern Pakistan went on a rampage on Wednesday, August 16, over allegations that a Christian man desecrated the Holy Qur'an.
Religious violence: Muslims attack church in Pakistan
The mob demolished the man’s house before attacking other people's properties, as they chanted angry slogans.
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The scale of the violence prompted the government to deploy police and army operatives to restore order in the area.
There were no casualties as Christians living in the area moved to safer places along with their families.
Shazia Amjad, a resident, narrated how the incident occurred toVoice of America:
"We were sitting at home when suddenly we heard that a mob is coming and it is burning homes and attacking churches.”
She told The Associated Press that the rioters burnt household items and furniture.
She added that some of her possessions were stolen as she moved to a safer place with her family.
Other Christians described similar ordeals.
Bishop Azad Marshall, President of the Bishop Church of Pakistan, expressed serious displeasure with the development.
He wrote on his verified Twitter (also known as X) handle:
"Words fail me as I write this. We, Bishops, Priests, and lay people are deeply pained and distressed at the Jaranwala incident in the Faisalabad District in Pakistan. A church building is being burnt as I type this message."
Christians slowly returned to their homes on Thursday, August 17, only to see the destruction of at least one church that was burned down.
Four other churches were also damaged. Two dozen homes were torched or badly damaged during the riots.
On Thursday, August 17, Rizwan Khan, the regional police chief, said 129 suspects had been arrested and the situation has been well managed.
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