Published On: Wed, May 13th, 2020

Christianity crackdown: Church attacked and cross damaged in latest wave of violence | World | News


The violence erupted when attackers reportedly armed with guns approached the Trinity Pentecostal Church in Hakeem Pura, Sheikhupura district near Lahore, Punjab. The mob shouted anti-Christian slogans as they damaged walls and a cross in the church, which was empty because of the coronavirus lockdown being enforced throughout the country. Pastor Samuel Barkat, head pastor of Trinity Pentecostal Church, told police the mob attempted to set fire to the building.

He told non-partisan Christian organisation International Christian Concern: “Following the COVID-19 lockdown, the church has been closed down and the worshipers are not visiting.

“Therefore, a group of land grabbers wanted to utilize this opportunity for their motives.”

Local Christian Boota Masih told AsiaNews the mob fled as soon as police arrived on the scene.

He said: “Not only was the cross broken, but our hearts were crushed too.”

Tariq Masih Gill, a member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, said: “The cross that was desecrated has great importance and value in both Christianity and Islam.

“The culprits have not only dishonoured our faith, but also our national flag, which also represents minorities.”

Provincial Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Minister Ijaz Augustine also visited the church shortly after the attack.

He urged police to take immediate action against the perpetrators. No arrests have been made so far.

Rev Hadayat, who heads the community, told AsiaNews the congregation of Trinity Pentecostal Church comprises more than 60 families.

News of the attack quickly spread throughout Pakistan as a whole, causing increased anger and sadness among Christian communities.

They are urging Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Government to provide increased protection to Pakistan’s minorities and are demanding the thugs are quickly brought to justice.

Last week, China continued its crackdown against Christianity after tearing down cross’ at a number of churches throughout the country.

A church located in the city of Huainan had its cross removed from the building, according to the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness (CCFR), a non-profit religious organization registered in the United States.

In a video posted by the group, a worker can be seen standing on the building where the cross was allegedly removed.

The CCFR also showed a house church in Shangrao City in Jiangxi province which had been damaged and demolished.

Churches across the country are advised to join the Three-Self Church which is a group of government-approved churches in the country.

Several churches in Dexing City, Shangrao and Fuzhou city, were raided by local authorities where they were told to shut down or join the Three-Self Church.

Last month, a shocking video emerged of a cross being torn down from the top of the Hefei Christian Church in China’s Anhui province.

Local authorities used large cranes to take down the religious from the oldest Christian establishment in the region.



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