In Pakistan on Monday, members of the minority Christian community staged protests after eight Christians were killed over the weekend in an unusual wave of violence against them by Muslim extremists.
The violence took place in the eastern city of Gojra when hundreds of Muslims stormed a Christian neighborhood after reports that a Quran had been desecrated. Dozens of houses were burned in the rampage. Six people died in the fires and two others were shot to death.
On Monday, Christian schools were closed throughout Pakistan to protest the violence, while hundreds of people took to the streets to demand justice. Christians account for only about 1.5 percent of Pakistan’s 167 million people.
Faisal Kapadia, a Worldfocus contributing blogger, condemns the violence and urges Pakistani Muslims to speak out against the attacks:
I am ashamed, we are always worried about our image these days and the image of our country […] We tout the fact that Islam is a religion of peace, we scream to the rafters when a hate incident against Muslims takes place anywhere in the world, are we going to stay silent when our own countrymen are slaughtered in the name of Islam?
This is not what Pakistan is or should be known for […]Let us unite and stand with the christian community in gojra and other minorities who face persecution for what is their right, to pray to whomsoever they wish.
Pakistani Frederick Masih, a Christian himself, comments hopefully on a post about the violence at “All Things Pakistan:”
Of course this incident has left all of us dejected and heartbroken. But I am heartened by the reactions and comments and ordinary Pakistanis, mostly Muslims, reacting with such compassion. I think that is true for the overall reaction in the country. Maybe the tide is changing. As a Christian who grew up in power, most of my memories of childhood were pleasant and nice. But being a minority anywhere is not easy. I hope this incidence will help all of us Paksitanis to realize that we must do to others what we want for ourselves. Tolerance and goodwill to all.
Adnan Siddiqi comments on the same article, writing that if Christians indeed desecrated the Quran, they too should be punished:
Those minority champs should realize that EVERY RELIGION must be respected; be it followed by minorities or majorities. Just like one does not have right to offfend Bible or any other religious book similarly no one has right to offend Quran either. One can’t say,”Oh they are minorities, let them offend Quran”. Those who have burnt these Christians and those who have really offended Muslims’ Holy book MUST BE punished.
“Adonis” comments on the “Pakistan Politics” blog to blame Pakistan’s justice system:
If there were an effective blasphemy law, there would have been no protests in gojra. People take to the street only and take law into their own hands when they are certain that the authorities are not going to take any action against the culprits.
The fact is that no one has ever served sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan. Even if someone is convicetd in lower courts, during appeal either the culprit is given bail during proceedings when he is whisked away to some western country or the case is withdrawn.
If people are certain that if somebody really commits blasphemy, then nothing would save hin from punishment and if someone falsely accuses anyone else for blasphemy, he would also be severely dealt with, then we would not have things that are happening in gojra.