Large mobs of Muslims have attacked at least five churches and burned them to the ground after a Christian cleaner was accused of blasphemy. Muslim leaders in Jaranwalla tehsil of Faisalabad, Pakistan, made announcements in mosques inciting the mob.
Social media show the damages of the churches after Christians fled their homes to avoid the attacks.
The attacks are the result of a complaint to police of a pakistani cleaner or maid who supposedly disrespected the Quran. Making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, the Quran, or Islam is punishable by 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code of which the sentence can be death.
The provincial government said that the “Holy Quran was desecrated and the sentiments of Muslims were hurt.”
This is a common problem in Pakistan. Innocent christians are often accused with bogus charges of blasphemy. BTJ is currently writing a book together with Shagufta Kausar, a pakistani christian cleaner who was accused of sending a blasphemous mobile text to an imam in 2014. Shagufta, an illiterate mother of four, could not read or write, and did not even own a mobile phone, but was still unjustly convicted of sending a blasphemous text and was sentenced to death by hanging.
Shagufta spent eight years on death row in Pakistan.
Unfortunately, Shagufta’s story is not uncommon, but happens over and over again. Pakistan’s current law considers unfavorable comments about Islam, or even questioning the religion itself, blasphemous. In the United Nations, the same blasphemy laws adopted by Pakistan are being framed as ‘hate speech,’ and is being pushed for the international community to adopt.
Shagufta’s story will be published next year.