A Christian pastor in Pakistan survived an assassination attempt by Muslim extremists after being previously threatened for allegedly insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.
Police in the Muslim-majority nation confirmed on Monday that Presbyterian Pastor Eleazar Sidhu, who is called by the nickname Pastor Vicky, was shot in Faisalabad on Sunday as he was heading home with his son on a motorcycle following prayers with his local Christian congregation. A gunman targeted him, according to VOA News.
The eastern district is where mobs of Muslims attacked a Christian neighborhood and burned approximately two dozen churches to the ground as well as scores of homes in August.
The pastor is being treated at a local hospital for a bullet he took to his shoulder according to local authorities and members of the minority Christian community. Just days before he was attacked, his house of worship was plastered with Islamic slogans such as “Muhammad is the last prophet,” among others.
Few Days Back In Faisalabad Pakistan , A Group Radical Islamists Wrote Islamic Slogans Outside The Compound Walls of A CHURCH, Along With Death Threats To Pastor Vicky.
— SPREAD THE GOSPEL (@YESHUAIsReal_) September 4, 2023
Pastor Vicky spoke from his hospital bed describing to police what happened to him. He claimed his attacker and another man had first confronted him three days ago and threatened to kill him for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
According to the police, an investigation is being conducted.
“The pastor said in his written police complaint that unknown men had written Islamic slogans on the front walls of his church last week in violation of local laws, and he was able to get them removed with the help of area police. ‘Since then, I have been receiving death threats and been falsely accused of blasphemy,’ he wrote,” VOA News reported.
“I call on authorities to ensure my safety and that of my Christian community so we can live in this country without fear. I demand the criminal involved in this attack and his supporters be brought to justice,” the minister asserted.
Pastor Vicky of Satyana Road Faisalabad, who had Islamic words written on the wall of his church a few days ago, was attacked yesterday.
Before firing, he was told to read the Kalma. The priest replied, “I will read the word of Jesus.” https://t.co/GBRuVl9OCx
— John Bosco (@boscojjj) September 5, 2023
No one has claimed responsibility for the attempted hit yet. It came roughly two weeks after thousands of Muslims violently stormed a Christian neighborhood in the district’s impoverished Jaranwala town on August 16.
The mob tore through the town, torching and ransacking 24 churches. They also reportedly destroyed a number of smaller chapels and dozens of homes. Christians are terrified and are being heavily persecuted for their faith there.
(Video Credit: Voice of America)
Police and community leaders contend that false allegations and rumors claiming that two Christian men desecrated pages of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, provoked the Muslim riot. It was widely denounced and described as one of the worst attacks to ever occur against a minority community in the country’s history.
Almost 200 people were arrested by police in connection to that riot. They are being investigated for their part in the attack.
“Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and the head of the country’s military condemned the Jaranwala attack and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice,” VOA News reported.
Prayer request for Pastor Eliezer alias Vicky of Presbyterian Church, Satyanharood Faisalabad who was injured in a murderous attack on 3rdSeptember2023Wecondemnthis barbaric attack and demandthe IG Police Punjab toimmediatelyarrest the accused and punish them according to law. pic.twitter.com/TavCimupmW
— Malik Arshad Mashi (@MalikMashi) September 4, 2023
“Insulting the Quran or Islamic beliefs is punishable by death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. No one has ever been executed, but the accused can expect to remain in jail for years while their case is on appeal,” the media outlet continued.
“In Pakistan, Christians are considered second-class citizens and are discriminated against in every aspect of public and private life,” a report states according to FaithWire. “Although there were no major attacks against churches last year, there are almost constant attacks against individuals. Believers who have converted from Islam are the most vulnerable to persecution.”
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