After being savagely beaten by a mob, 55 Christians are now being charged with blasphemy
By Akmal Bhatti
Special to ASSIST News Service
FAISALABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Their faces were pale, their heads bowed, and worries were glaring on their faces when I, along with my team, went there to share our solidarity with a group of innocent Pakistani Christians who were brutally attacked and then charged with blasphemy..
Many of those Christians who were attacked are standing firm for Christ and justice
They are being persecuted due to their faith in this country. I have been facing many hurdles to help these poor and victimized Christians since long, but I always feel happy to sacrifices for these voiceless peoples.
To find out more about this latest situation, I went to Chak (village) No. 206 GB tehsil Sammundri, District, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan, which is located about 60 kilometers (37 miles) in the south of Faisalabad.
The village is Muslim majority with some 500 Muslim families and about 120 Christian families living there, who are poor and are mainly employed as agriculture workers, earning their bread working as laborers for the Muslim landlords.
These Christians had a small piece of land where they could bury their dead, and many times they had asked landlords of the village to provide some extra land for graveyard, but as I soon discovered, this landlords were not willing to provide them.
Their local church
On Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014, all of the Christians, along with one kind Muslim fellow, Muhammad Iqbal, who had agreed to give them a piece of land for this said purpose, went to cut bushes to make land clean for graveyard.
But then, as religious clerics of the village came to learn of this, they make announcements on the mosque's loud speakers, in which they asked Muslim community to get united and gathered for sake of their beliefs.
They made up a fake story, and succeeded in inciting some 500 Muslims, who armed themselves with guns, clubs, and axes, and began attacking the Christians who were by now working on the piece of land, and brutally attacked them. They were brutally beaten and tortured by the mob carrying their weapons.
They were also threatening them, saying that that their houses would be torched and looted if they did not leave the village right away. One of the gang said, "You Christians are accused of insulting our religious beliefs and were trying to get possession of our graveyard which was already being kept for the Muslim community."
In my investigations, I learned that the Christians were afraid and kept apologizing and trying to get them to stop, and also they told their attackers that that they had "not" insulted their religion.
One of the young men who was beaten and tortured
However, this didn't stop the attackers who kept on with their rampage, and eventually, the Christians asked for help from the students of local Muslim Seminaries, but still this didn't stop the violence.
To make matters worse, a Muslim landlord then decided to register blasphemy case against the Christians of the village and the mob went to the nearly Police station at Mureed Wala to record their case and protested. They pressurized the local police and registered the blasphemy case U/s 295 C, 297, 506B, 447,147,148 ppc against the 55 Christian fellows along with two Muslim. The First Information Record (FIR) no is 316/14.
Police have already arrested 25 people in this case, and not one of the Christians were allowed for to receiver medical treatment and also were not able to record their version of the story to the police.
They are under threat and worried about their future. They are not able to observe their ordinary course of life.
Addressing the Christians
When I met the people, I encouraged them to stand firm for their Christianity, saying, "God will help you." I also assured them that I would seek justice for them. We prayed in the church and asked helped from the God, and I promised them that I will ask people from around the world to help them by providing food, security, and other things. They need our help. They are waiting for us.
These persecuted and victimized Christians need legal assistance to defend the blasphemy case which is registered against 55 innocent persons. In these days they are in hiding to save their life from religious hardliners and from Police harassment. They are not able to earn their bread and butter, so they need food Items.