Church & Christian Homes Attacked by Islamic Extremists in Pakistan

A chapel and three Christian houses have been attacked in a village outside Lahore, Pakistan on 12 August by a mob of around 35 extremist Muslims.

|TOP|The attackers burned buildings, desecrated Bibles and beat up Christians, including women and children, according to a report by the Catholic Church's National Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan, which investigated the incident.

According to reports, three Christians were seriously injured, and one is missing.

At 10pm on August 12, Yaqoob Mehr, a local Muslim landlord, threw hand grenades at the Apostolic Church chapel in Mominpura Thiaki, a village near Sharaqpur Sharif, in the Sheikhupura district, 35 kilometres from Lahore, report Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Part of the chapel was demolished by the explosion, three adjacent houses were destroyed and one house was set on fire, according to eyewitness accounts.

|AD|Yaqoob Mehr was reportedly accompanied by a mob of about 35 men, including some notorious criminals from the nearby village of Raajian Araaian, explain CSW. Most of the local Christians were attending a special prayer service at the Presbyterian Church that evening.

This attack followed a previous incident, on 7 August, when Yaqoob Mehr attacked the village at 11am, accompanied by four armed men. Three Christians were injured in that attack. Yaqoob Mehr has been trying to grab the land occupied by Christian families, who moved to the area in 1988 after floods washed away their previous village.

According to the National Commission for Justice and Peace, Mominpura Thiaki village consists of 65 Christian families and ten Muslim families. These Muslims from the village tried to help the Christians, and provided some with shelter in their homes.

The attackers have not been arrested, although a case has been registered with the police. Some of them had been given temporary bail on August 12 after the first attack, but returned to the village within a few hours to attack again. Five policemen have been sent to the village to provide protection.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: "This is yet another example of the mistreatment of religious minorities in Pakistan. They are constantly subjected to a cocktail of discrimination, abuse, land grabbing and violence by extremists and corrupt landlords. We urge the Pakistani authorities to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice, and to provide better protection for Christians and other religious minorities."