The struggle between Muslims and Christians is starting to boil over again in places like Yemen, Pakistan and Iran where Christians have been martyred in the last month. Islam teaches, “kill the infidels” whereas Jesus said, “bless those who persecute you.” Not exactly a fair fight by the world’s standards.
I have a long-standing relationship with Emmanuel Sadiq, a young pastor in Pakistan who is like a spiritual son to me. I just received an email from him describing a horrific case of martyrdom a few days ago. I checked the details from a Forbes article
and here are the facts:
Seven members of one Christian family in Gojra, Pakistan, have been burned alive in an attack fueled by religious hatred. Clerics in local mosques incited the mob attacks when they alleged that pages from the Quran had been “desecrated” during a wedding celebration a week ago. When law enforcement agencies failed to take action, it grew and ultimately led to a large Sunni fundamentalist mob burning hundreds of homes.
Some of the Christians under attack put up a fight, but were overwhelmed. The attackers chose a house at random, shot dead the elder of the house, ransacked it and then set fire to it, burning the rest of the family members alive who had locked themselves in another room. Officials have condemned the attack and promised a judicial inquiry, but it is unlikely that will go anywhere or result in any prosecutions.
Emmanuel sent this personal report on the incident and has appealed for a response:
“Seven Christians were burned alive, 28 injured and more than 50 houses were set on fire by a Muslim mob, angered at an alleged desecration of the Holy Quran. I called an emergency meeting at the AFM church on hearing of this and we agreed to immediately despatch a team to the town to establish the facts and bring what help and sympathy we could to the people there.
They saw smoke rising from the burning homes and appliances. People were weeping for their relatives who had been burned alive in the attack. One eye witness reported that the local mosque Imam had announced in previous Friday’s prayers that the Christians should be punished over the alleged desecration of the holy Quran three days earlier in the village of Koryan.
On Saturday at 9 am, people were gathered at Malakwala Chowk, near the railway track, very close to the Christian town Gojra. The local Imam then made an announcement over the loud speakers at the Mosque, alerting the Christians that they were coming to teach them a lesson and to prepare themselves. Christians approached the Imam and asked him to prevent this action and he agreed, assuring them that they were only conducting a peaceful protest.
Unfortunately, this was not what the mob had in mind. Estimates place the number at 20,000, but it may not have been so many. They marched toward Gojra with weapons and chemicals, throwing petrol or chemical filled bottles into houses and setting them ablaze. They broke into houses and looted currency and gold. Their clothes, beds, fans, refrigerators, bicycles, motors cycles and even their pots for eating and drinking all gone. They now have nothing. Two churches were also destroyed, their Bible and praise and worship instruments all burned.
Many in the mob traveled from Jhang to take this action as part of the militant Sunni fundamentalist group Sipah–e-Sahaba. They covered their faces with veils.
The Police had assured that they were there for the protection of the Christian community, but they proved powerless in the face of the mob. Most of the residents had fled but 7 people included Hameed Masih (50), Parveen (50), Akhlas Masih (40), Asia Bibi (19), Imama Bibi (22) and Musa (7) were burned alive.”
We who follow Jesus need to respond in love. Emmanuel would like to provide emergency aid (food and water, bedding, and clothes) to the families who are now homeless. If you’d like to help a family, click on this link
and the link “Pakistan orphans.” We’ll let you know how the money you donate is spent.