01/04/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – According to the Christian Post, hundreds of Christian families have returned to their homes in Pakistan after threats of mob violence forced them to flee last month. While the threat of mob violence remains, local authorities have assured the Christians that there will be no attacks or violence against them.
On December 27, hundreds of Christian families fled the Charar neighborhood of Lahore after a local pastor’s faith-based social media post was deemed offensive by Muslims.
“Pastor Raja Waris published a faith-based post on Facebook on December 22 which Muslims claimed hurt their religious sentiments,” Saleem Khokhar, a Christian from Charar, told International Christian Concern (ICC). “The pastor apologized for the post and the issue was resolved the next day.”
Even though the issue was resolved, a mob of hundreds of Muslims began protesting against the Christians of Charar. According to locals, the mob demanded that Pastor Waris be beheaded for publishing the offending post.
“The situation turned dangerous when someone found out the Muslims were planning to set fire to the houses of Christians,” Khokhar reported. “This forced the Christians to flee the neighborhood.”
On December 28, Pastor Waris was handed over to police custody, where he has remained. To date, no blasphemy charges have been filed against Pastor Waris for the offending social media post.
Police have been deployed to Charar to keep any protest from turning violent. The police presence so far has been able to keep the peace and many of the Christian families that fled have returned to their homes. Rumors of mob violence remain, but police authorities have assured local Christians that they will protect the community.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.
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