Karachi Church attacked and desecrated

October 18, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistan, October 16, 2012: On Friday afternoon (October 12th), after Muslim Jumma prayer a 600 strong mob attacked and damaged a church in the old city area of Karachi. Earlier the same villagers set fire to the belongings of Ryan Bryan a teenager now accused of blasphemy in the same town. On Saturday a large number of civil society activists and members of the Christian community held a demonstration, urging the authorities to protect them from the extremists who attacked and damaged a church and threatened to kill an innocent teenager caught up in a swarm of hatred. Literally hundreds of Christians braved the animosity directed towards then to vent their frustrations against the injustice meted out upon them. The protesters chanted slogans and demanded security for the minority communities and their places of worship. They demanded that the attackers should be punished under the law.

Father Mohan Victor of the local Catholic Parish Church of St Francis said, “There were two wedding ceremonies being held at our church when the attack commenced. 200 to 300 people were attending when suddenly without warning a big large vehement mob gathered outside the church. The rioters started pelting stones at the church and visitors and attacked us with sticks. He added; The mob entered the church compound and smashed the cars and motorcycles parked there. Flowerpots, windows and doors of the church were irreparably damaged.”

Father Mohan described how as soon as the mob entered the compound visitors and clergy sought refuge in the church building, hiding upstairs in the dark, ensuring all lights were turned off and no noise could be heard. The attack continued for more than 90 minutes and parishioners, clergy and visitors held silent prayers full of anxiety and fear. “I called some friends and asked them to get the POlice to our church, thankfully police arrived soon afterwards. Gunshots were heard from outside the church and the mob dispersed.” said Father Mohan. He commented further, “There is no reason for the attack we have done nothing to warrant this”.

Saleem Khokher a prominent member of the Sindh assembly said, “When I received a call about the attack on the church, I immediately called the administration and soon after the police arrived there. They dispersed the mob in timely fashion and most effectively. Soon after the attack I reached at the spot and told a Police official to launch an FIR.” Police said they had registered a case against unknown people who had attacked the Catholic Church.

– persecution.in

Building attacked three times in a month

The church has been attacked three times in the past month

The church has been attacked three times in the past month

Pakistan, October 15, 2012: Christians marched in Karachi over the weekend to protest against a stoning attack on a church, prompted by ongoing anger over a film mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

Archbishop Joseph Coutts led the protest which included about 70 priests, nuns and Christian politicians. The marchers carried banners that called for equal rights for Christians in the wake of the attack on Saint Francis Catholic Church on Friday evening.

A mob of about 100 Muslims pelted stones at the doors and windows of the church, damaging the Marian grotto and parishioners’ vehicles parked in the compound.

Franciscan Father Jamil Albert said churchgoers hid in the dining hall of the parish house during the attack. in which the group also wrote slogans on the wall of the church including “long live the Taliban.”

Only about 30 percent of the congregation turned up for Mass yesterday despite tighter security provided by police.

“We have cancelled celebrations for the feast of St. Francis and the Archbishop’s pastoral visit to the area,” said Fr. Albert.

Police and the Church disagree on what prompted the incident.

Media reports said the Muslim group was originally protesting over power outages in Karachi before the attack. Police said there was a heated argument with Christians which resulted in a physical confrontation.

“We believe the incident was not religiously motivated,” Inspector Aslam Gujjar was quoted as saying in Dawn newspaper on Saturday.

But Bishop Coutts said the attack was prompted by the film Innocence of Muslims, which has prompted a number of violent incidents across the Islamic world.

“The Christian community will keep registering protests until the government ensures safety and security for religious minorities in the country,” he said.

Friday’s attack was the third time Muslims have attacked St. Francis Church since the video appeared on the internet.

A group of people broke into the church on October 6 and last month attackers stoned the compound wall and called Christians infidels.

– ucan

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