More threats following brutal murders. “UPDATE: Pakistani Muslim Groups Threaten More Violence,” from International Christian Concern, August 5:
Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Several Muslim groups met in Gojra, Pakistan, today to hold a press conference calling on the government to exonerate religious leaders accused of inciting the anti-Christian attacks that occurred this past weekend. In addition, they threatened to hang the Christian whose alleged blasphemy sparked the violence.
Muslim groups Jamiyat Islami Gojra (a religious group) and Anjman-e-Tajran (a trade union) initially condemned last weekend’s violence in their statements. However, they quickly reversed course by calling for the release of Ulma and the other clerics named in the official police report. They further contradicted their initial statement by threatening to hang Talib Masih and others accused of blasphemy in the Gojra bazaar if the government had not arrested him by August 10.
This press conference is a sign that the government has not restored rule of law in this area, and is risking another outbreak of violence by its delay in responding adequately to the situation.
The violence occurred on July 31 and August 1 when mobs of infuriated Muslims attacked and burned over 100 Christian homes after hearing a rumor that Talib Masih and his sons had cut up pieces of the Qur’an to throw in the air during a wedding. A committee investigating the alleged blasphemy has found Talib innocent.
At least 8 Christians were killed, 35 injured, and 45 missing after the attacks. ICC urges all concerned parties to call the Embassy of Pakistan and urge President Zardari to uphold the rights of religious minorities and take immediate action to prosecute the leaders of the mob, especially the radical clerics who called for the attacks.
USA: (202) 243-6500
Canada: (613) 238-7881