A group of Muslim men entered a church in Kala Shah Kaku, Sheikhupura, about 40km from Lahore, shouting that they would set the building on fire and burn the Christians.
According to the pastor, Samuel Hidayat Masih, of the Trinity Pentecostal Church; on the morning of 9 May, Malik Aun Abbas, Ali Shan and several other people, forcefully entered the church and asked the worshippers present there to vacate the land.
They claimed the land belonged to them and started demolishing the church courtyard gate and the boundary wall. They forced their way into the church and desecrated the cross along with other fixtures and threatened everyone present.
Following the incident, community leaders lodged a police complaint at the Ferozwala police station.
Pastor Samuel is still being threatened and he is worried he will be attacked.
Nasir Saeed, Director of Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS-UK) said: “It is sad that attacks on churches continue even during the COVID-19 pandemic, because hatred against Christians continues to rise and the government has no plans at all to protect the religious minorities and their places of worship.”
- Ask God to place a shield of protection around Pastor Samuel, his family and his church.
- Pray the Lord will help Pastor Samuel and the church members to overcome this attack and ongoing threats. Pray for justice and that the Lord will provide them with wisdom to deal with the opposition and the authorities.
- Pray for the church throughout Pakistan, which often faces targeted violence and injustice.
The church in Sri Lanka is facing mounting violence and discrimination — as extremism extends its influence. Buddhist hardliners and Hindu extremists with links to India are gaining influence.
Large mobs, even entire communities, are being mobilised against the church. One example involves the Assemblies of God (AOG) church in Beliatta, southern Sri Lanka.
A mob of about 100 people from various villages attacked the church building, demanding an end to worship services and threatening to kill the pastor and his family.
Police had to call for back-up to be able to escort the pastor to the safety of the police station. Later that night, the pastor’s home was pelted with stones.
Three days later, about 500 people, including Buddhist monks, staged a protest against the church, demanding the pastor leave the village. The pastor and his family were put under police protection.
Partners of Release International say that Hindu extremist groups that have taken root in India, including the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), are extending their reach into Sri Lanka, especially in eastern areas. They are reported to have been holding meetings with Hindu villagers to promote religious hatred towards Christians and incite violence.
Sources: Release International, Morning Star News
- Ask God to protect the pastor and family and reassure them of His faithfulness.
- Pray that God will strengthen His people and uphold them with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
- Pray that those who are spreading intolerance and extremism will be moved by the witness of Sri Lankan Christians and touched by God’s unconditional love.