Pakistan: Death sentence for Christian puts spotlight on Muslim injustice
“March 27, will be remembered as yet another 'terrible day' in which injustice against Christians was committed," said Rev. James Channan, a Catholic priest and diirector of the Peace Center in Lahore, an organization that is involved in interfaith dialogue in Pakistan.
"Pakistani Christians are already persecuted and they feel very insecure and vulnerable, especially after so many false blasphemy cases registered against them. The verdict sentencing Sawan Masih, a poor Christian worker, to death is another blow for Pakistani Christians,” said Father Channan.
According to Channan, a property dispute between Sawan and a Muslim acquaintance led the latter to accuse the Christian of blasphemy: a capital crime in the Muslim majority country. “The whole world knows what happened next. Over 100 Christian homes of Joseph Colony - a Christian neighborhood in Lahore - were destroyed.” In the Muslim assault, two Christian churches were burned by a mob of 3000 fanatics, who also desecrated Bibles and crosses. Channan said, “The Christians of Joseph Colony still live in danger and fear that the mob might attack again at any time."
"After Sawan’s death sentence, I ask myself: where is justice?,” asked Fr. Channan. “ Why is nothing done against these innocent Christians who have been attacked and have lost their possessions? What about the churches which were desecrated, Bibles burned and crosses destroyed? Is this not blasphemy? Why was no culprit punished after the horrendous attacks against Christian villages and neighborhoods such as in Shanti Nagar, Sangla Hill, Gojra (where seven Christians were burned alive)? Where is justice and where is the rule of law? I hope the government takes measures to ensure justice to all citizens, and takes note of the serious injustice perpetrated against Christians in their homeland."
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