|Damaged property from the fire|
It all began when a young man by the name of Sawan Masih got involved in a petty dispute with a close Muslim friend. Following the incident, police arrested Sawan who was accused of blasphemy. When the allegations were broadcast from mosque loudspeakers, thousands of Muslims went on a rampage in the community, setting fire to approximately 200 homes. In addition, two churches, a chapel and many shops were vandalized; numerous Christians had been beaten; houses were looted; and hundreds of Bibles purposely burned. Fearing for their lives, nearly all the residents of this terror-stricken region fled, some on the advice of local police. For more on the challenges facing Christians in Pakistan, go to the Pakistan Country Report.
Pray that in the aftermath of these violent attacks, the people of this Christian community will be granted the courage and hope needed to rebuild their lives and emerge even stronger in their faith. May those with political power and influence take a strong stand against such terrible acts of lawlessness, proactively doing more to protect all the innocent and vulnerable members of the community. Also pray that the charges made against Sawan will be dropped, and that his family and community will be protected from further incidents of violence.