Rumors Create Violence

By April 12, 2007

Pakistan (MNN) — Easter was tense for Pakistani Christians this year, according to reports from Compass Direct. Muslim and Christian leaders were still trying to settle quarrels stemming from rumors in the Punjab province. 

Sunday, April 1, began the string of violence. Pakistan is the second most populous country with a Muslim majority. Muslims celebrating Mohammed's birthday in Toba Tek Singh became violent when they heard that Christian men had assaulted Muslims and desecrated a sticker that bore Mohammed's name. 

Another report claimed that the violence erupted and spread when parents got involved in a playground argument. The report said an 11-year-old Christian would not play with Muslim children.

Despite the fact that the rumors were unconfirmed, violence continued. A Christian source reported that 80 Muslims (not 2,000 as another Christian source had claimed) attacked a Christian neighborhood. They tortured men, women, and children and stoned houses. "Christians ran to save their lives, and some of them hid in their houses. But even then the Muslim extremists kept on stoning," said local believer Irum Gill. No one was spared, and dozens were hurt. Even a disabled man named Ratan Masih was beaten and injured.

Punjab was just an extension of the violence that was occurring to the north in the capital of Islamabad. Maulana Abdul Aziz threatened bloody repercussions if the Pakistan government tries to stop his proposal. He wants to enforce Islamic laws in the federal capital through vigilante Islamic courts. President Pervez Musharraf is opposed to this.

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