The United States has expressed deep concern over the recent mob attacks on churches and Christian homes in Pakistan following rumors of blasphemy against Islam. The State Department has called on Pakistani authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into these incidents and has urged for calm in the affected communities.
According to reports, hundreds of Muslim men attacked a predominantly Christian area on the outskirts of the industrial city of Faisalabad on Wednesday, setting fire to churches and vandalizing a cemetery. The violence erupted after allegations spread that a Christian family had desecrated the Quran, the holy book of Islam. Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures can face the death penalty.
“We are deeply concerned that churches and homes were targeted in response to reported Quran desecration in Pakistan,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters. He said that while the United States backed free expression, “violence or the threat of violence is never an acceptable form of expression.” “We urge Pakistani authorities to conduct a full investigation into these allegations and call for calm,” he said.
The US has been a long-standing ally of Pakistan, providing billions of dollars in aid and military assistance over the years. However, the relationship has also been strained by issues such as human rights, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation. The US has repeatedly urged Pakistan to protect its religious minorities, who often face discrimination and persecution.
The latest attacks on Christians have also drawn condemnation from local and international human rights groups, who have called for justice and accountability. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it was “appalled” by the mob violence and urged the government to take “immediate and effective action” to prevent such incidents in the future. The HRCP also demanded that the perpetrators be brought to book and that the victims be compensated for their losses.
The International Christian Concern (ICC), a US-based advocacy group, said it was “deeply saddened” by the attacks and called on the international community to pressure Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws. The ICC said that these laws are often misused to settle personal scores or target religious minorities. The ICC also urged Pakistan to provide security and protection to its Christian citizens, who make up about 1.6% of the country’s population of 220 million.