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800 Christian families flee city after blasphemy claim triggers riots

Wed 21 Feb 2018
By Alex Williams

Hundreds of believers have fled rioting in Pakistan's second-largest city after a local Christian man was accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Local church leader, Bishop Emmanuel Masih told World Watch Monitor - an organisation which reports on cases of Christians facing pressure for their faith - that 800 families have left Lahore since Monday when an angry mob burned tyres and partially blocked a major road.

The unrest broke out after local Christian man, Patras Masih, was accused of posting offensive material on Facebook last month.

 

His uncle, Arif Masih told World Watch Monitor: "People had started gathering around 7am, while I heard about what was happening around 11.30am, when things had started getting worse.

"I live only few streets away and rushed to the place where people were gathering, while Patras and his father had already fled from home."

Relatives of the 20-year-old bank cleaner say they are unaware of what has happened to Mr Masih since they turned him in to police.

World Watch Monitor

 

During a press conference at the police in Shahdara district on Tuesday evening, Muslim and Christian church leaders urged families to return to the city and to live in peace with Muslim neighbours.

Police sub-inspector Haji Munir, who is leading the investigation in Mr Masih told World Watch Monitor: "Patras is still under investigation but soon will be sent to jail."

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