A shocking series of events has unfolded in Jaranwala, Pakistan, following allegations of the desecration of the Quran – read our original account with many other videos (here).
What began as accusations against two Christian brothers has escalated into a devastating wave of violence, resulting in the destruction of over 30 churches and 500 homes.
The situation remains tense as the community grapples with the aftermath of this brutal attack.
VIDEO: A church was ignited and a motorcycle was set ablaze in the streets, as the Muslim unrest escalated into a scene of horror.
On the morning of August 16th, a video surfaced on social media, capturing a Muslim cleric addressing local residents through a loudspeaker at a local shrine in Cinema Basti, Jaranwala. The cleric’s inflammatory statements, urging Muslims to gather at the Matan Mosque and implying a sense of negligence among them, contributed to heightened tensions in the area.
Please sign our Justice for Jaranwala petition (here)
In the video above, the Imam can be heard saying:
“All Molivis [Islamic Clerics] and all Muslims should gather at Matan Mosque. Are you having breakfast at home? What kind of Islam is in you? You should have been willing to die. These roads should have been blocked.”
The incident originated from allegations against Raja Amir and Raki Masih, Christian brothers from Cinema Basti, accused of tearing pages from the Quran and defiling them with blasphemous content. Subsequently, the City Police Station Jaranwala registered an FIR (First Information Report) under charges of 295A and 295B, which hold the possibility of capital punishment.
Police initially apprehend the accused and collected evidence, due to lack of evidence both brothers were unexpectedly released around 10:00 am, fueling outrage within the Muslim community. The situation quickly escalated as mobs of Muslims gathered across the city, attacking Christian communities and resulting in the destruction of homes, churches, and other properties.
Subsequently, what appears to be manipulated and fabricated evidence, including blasphemous comments and images of the accused affixed to the defamatory content, has been presented to the police with the intention of initiating a criminal case.
IMAGE: The text above contains an image of the accused father and son and states that they are not afraid of Muslims and are desecrating the Koran in response to attacks on Christians. Pages of the Koran alos have defamatory text on them.
The scenes captured in videos show the extent of the violence, with enraged individuals vandalizing churches, uprooting crosses, and plundering homes. The situation spread beyond Cinema Basti, affecting Christians in Nasir Colony, Esa Nagar, Christian Town, and neighboring locations.
VIDEO: A cross is ripped of a church and smashed to the floor before setting alight the building
Responding to the crisis, BACA (an organization advocating for the rights of Christians in South Asia) swiftly took action, despite facing threats and blocked entrances. The organization’s team reached Esa Nagar, Jaranwala, offering support to affected families, providing shelter, food, and water to those who had lost their homes.
VIDEO: The British Asian Christian Association provided meals for around 80 internally displaced Christians last night and has successfully accommodated 15 families in Lahore. We are reaching out to churches in Lahore for support in ensuring the ongoing maintenance and well-being of these families.
In another neighborhood, Pathan Colony, BACA have offered refuge and sustenance to five further Christian families seeking safety. They have now been relocated to Lahore.
The situation continues to be volatile, and BACA is persistently providing food assistance to organizations that are providing shelter for Christians who have now become homeless. We are also actively locating temporary shelters for additional Christians, ensuring they are far removed from the fear that has engulfed persecuted Christians in Jaranwala. If you wish to contribute to our appeal, please consider making a donation by clicking (here).
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said: