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Pakistan: militants attack Christian village, church

Catholic World News - April 19, 2011

Muslim militants attacked a Christian village of Khokarki in the northeastern Pakistani province of Punjab on April 16, causing dozens of families to flee. The attack followed an accusation of blasphemy against Mushtaq Gill and his son, Farrukh Mushtaq Gill, who had been quarreling with local Muslims.

The following day, a mob of Muslims surrounded a Pentecostal church in the nearby city of Gujranwala. As the faithful fled, two were kidnapped, and may suffered beatings. Twelve Christians were arrested.

“In these recent incidents it is clear that the police are accomplices of the militants, because they arrest Christians, victims of attacks,” said Haroon Barkat Masih, director of the Masihi Foundation, which provides legal aid to persecuted Pakistani Christians.

“Christians in Pakistan are not discouraged when faced with suffering,” said Bishop Andrew Francis of Multan in response to the attacks. “We are firm in faith, hope, and charity and will continue without stopping to promote interfaith dialogue with moderate Muslims, peace and harmony in society.”

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