Pakistan: Muslim mob destroys a Catholic church in Punjab

November 8, 2019

Persecution of Christians in Pakistan: here, the destruction of a Catholic church took place “under the eyes of the police.” Not just Catholics, but Christians of all faith traditions are threatened by this tacit official sanctioning harassment and persecution. Pakistan’s small and courageous Orthodox Christian community is as vulnerable to this persecution as are the rest of Pakistan’s Christians.

The ongoing mistreatment of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan is an issue of immense importance that nevertheless receives scant attention from the UN or international human rights organizations. Please pray that the Christian community in Pakistan will be able to endure this martyrdom and experience a resurrection, and that relief will come to this courageous and long-suffering Christian community.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Punjab, a Muslims [sic] mob destroys a Catholic church,” by Shafique Khokhar, Asia News, November 7, 2019:

Lahore (AsiaNews) – A mob of Muslim radicals demolished a wall and the front door of a Catholic church in the village of Waqya Chak, district of Arifwala, in the Pakistani Punjab. The destruction took place on November 4th under the eyes of the police.

The official reason for the destruction is that the Christian community did not have the necessary permits. Speaking to AsiaNews, however, Catholics complain that it is the fruit of “envy” against Christians. Naseer Masih, a church catechist, declares: “Muslims do not want the church in the village because they have bad feelings towards Christians”.

About 4 thousand people live in the village. There are 70 Catholic families, and now they live with pain and anger. Naseer has been leading prayers since the place of worship was built in 2007. This is not a real building, given that the resident Catholic community does not have the funds to build a church, but a small fenced plot, given by a member of the community. Inside there is a modest construction where the masses are celebrated and the parish priests of the nearby churches officiate the liturgy on the major Christian feasts.

Muslims oppose the presence of the wall. On 4 November 50 policemen arrived in front of the gate and asked Catholics if they had ever had problems praying in church. Christians have responded that they had never had difficulties. Meanwhile, a crowd of 60 people gathered to bring a tractor and hammers. With the tractor they knocked down the door, then the Muslims completed the destruction with hammers.

The following day police officers – including the assistant commissioner, deputy superintendent and the station attendant – called a meeting between Christians and Muslims. On that occasion the policemen told the Christians that they will not be able to build the church proper until they have the permission of the district coordinator. Then they added that the church was destroyed because it was illegal….