blind_html [Nimer's Political Blog] [Fwd: THE GOAL OF ISLAM...]

  • From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 11:13:38 -0700 (PDT)

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2009 20:07:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Infidel <mormoninfo@xxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: politics-current-events@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: Politics & Current Events <politics-current-events@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

They Want to Destroy Christians
Spasm of Religious Violence Leaves a Pakistani Minority in Mourning,
By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, August 3, 2009
GOJRA, Pakistan, Aug. 2 -- They do not want to bury the Christians.
They want the nation to see them.
By nightfall Sunday, hundreds of residents of the Christian enclave
here stood in defiant vigil around seven particleboard coffins neatly
aligned on the train tracks that run through town. They had demands:
Until the government investigates the killings and finds those
responsible, they will not remove the bodies.
Police waited warily in the street. A man on a loudspeaker bellowed
the villagers' sentiments, which included anger at provincial
authorities for not stopping the killings.
"Death to the Punjab government!"
A spasm of religious violence came to this rural town in the shape of
an angry Muslim mob Saturday morning. The Muslims marched to avenge
what they believed was the desecration of a Koran one week earlier.
When it was over, dozens of houses were torched and Faith Bible
Pentecostal Church lay in ruins. Two villagers were shot dead,
residents said. Five others, including two children, burned alive.
Killing has become commonplace in Pakistan. But this attack startled
the country both for its ferocity and for its stark message to
religious minorities. Many saw the violence as further evidence of the
growing power of the Taliban and allied Islamist militant groups in
Punjab province, home to about half of Pakistan's population.
"They have made up their minds to crush Christianity. They always call
us dogs of America, agents of America," said Romar Sardar, an English
teacher from the area. "There has been no protection by the police.
The conflict apparently began with a wedding. On the evening of July
25, a wedding procession for a Christian couple passed through the
nearby village of Korian, according to a police report. Revelers
danced and threw money in the air, as is local custom. In the morning,
a resident told police he had picked up scraps of paper on the ground
and found Arabic writing. "We examined them, and it was the pages from
the holy Koran," the man said in the report.
Four days later, the accused, a member of the wedding party named
Talib Masih, faced a meeting of local elders, who demanded that he be
punished. Instead of repenting, the report said, he denied the
desecration, and as a result, "the whole Muslim population was
enraged." The house burning began that night and then quieted down
until Saturday morning.
That day, Riaz Masih, 68, a retired teacher, grew increasingly worried
as a crowd gathered, chanting anti-Christian slogans and cursing
Americans. He locked his house and rushed with his wife and children
to the home of a Muslim friend nearby. The crowd, some wearing black
veils and carrying guns, turned down Masih's narrow brick alley near
the train tracks and into the Christian Colony, according to several
witnesses. Residents and marchers threw rocks at each other, and
gunfire broke out. Using what residents described as gasoline and
other flammable chemicals, the mob torched Masih's house.
"We have nothing left," he said, standing in the charred remains of
his living room, his daughter's empty jewelry box at his feet. "We are
trying to face this in the name of Jesus Christ. The Bible says you
cannot take revenge."
On Sunday, the scenes of wreckage and dismay played out in house after
house. Residents tossed burned blankets and clothing, broken
televisions, and charred beds into heaps on the street. Fruit seller
Iqbal Masih, 49, stepped over his mangled carts on his patio and tried
to assess what was left of his daughter's dowry. The armoire, a
refrigerator, the bedding were burned; the $675 for furniture had
"I am out of my mind. I can't look," he said. "They have subjected us
to severe cruelties. May God show them the right path."
At least four of the dead came from a single house. As the mob
approached, a bullet struck Hamid Masih, a builder, in the head as he
stood in his doorway, said his son, Min Has. Has heaved his father
onto a motorcycle and drove him to a hospital, while the rest of the
family members crowded in a back bedroom. The house began burning, and
smoked billowed into the rooms. At least three other relatives,
including 5- and 8-year-old siblings, died in the flames, according to
residents. "There was fire everywhere, and it was impossible for them
to get out," Has said.
"I know one thing. They want to destroy Christians," said Atiq Masih,
22, a janitor who was shot in the right knee. "They were attacking
Christians, who make up about 2 percent of the Punjab population, have
been targeted in other recent cases. In June, a mob attacked Christian
homes in the Kasur district of Punjab for allegedly dishonoring the
prophet Mohammed. In Pakistan, which has strict laws against
blasphemy, people can be imprisoned for life or put to death for
insulting Islam.
Residents in Gojra said that this was the first incident of its kind
in the town and that Christians and Muslims have long lived alongside
one another without serious problems. They blamed Muslim clerics for
inciting anger over the Koran incident in mosque sermons and accused
the Taliban and the militant group Sipah-e-Sahaba of involvement in
the attack.
"The provincial government is not accepting that a large part of
Punjab is suffering from religious intolerance due to the Taliban and
religious outfits," said Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the
National Commission for Justice and Peace, which issues an annual
report on religious minorities in Pakistan. "They have been very
negligent. This conflict was brewing for three days, and they were not
receptive. They were not taking it seriously."
Pakistan's president and prime minister have called for investigations
into the violence. By Sunday, police and paramilitary troops had taken
up positions in the town. Provincial authorities said they have
already made arrests and registered cases against 800 people. Federal
Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti denied that any Koran had been
Police in Gojra said the violence Saturday was beyond their control.
"It happened all of a sudden. The police that were here were too few
in number to stop it," said policeman Kashif Sadiq. "It's not fair to
assume they let this happen intentionally."
Special correspondents Shaiq Hussain and Aoun Sahi contributed to this
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Posted By Nimer Jaber to Nimer's Political Blog at 8/06/2009 12:13:00 PM

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