Locals gather inside the Paul Lutheran Church, which was set on fire by a mob during an anti-Islam film protest a day earlier, in Mardan. (Photo by DAWN- Reuters)
Hundreds of Islamists with kerosene and guns torched a Lutheran Church in northwest Pakistan on Friday.
A mob of hundreds of Muslim men attacked and burnt an 82-year-old church and an adjoining school in northwest Pakistan during a protest against an anti-Islam film, sparking concerns among the minority Christian community.
The mob broke through the gate of the St Paul’s Lutheran Church inside the cantonment in Mardan city, 48 kms from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital of Peshawar, on Friday while returning from a rally against the film ‘Innocence Of Muslims’.
According to reports from Christians in Mardan, the mob attacked and set on fire the church, St Paul’s high school, a library, a computer laboratory and houses of four clergymen, including Bishop Peter Majeed.
The mob also damaged and torched vehicles, including a car and three motorcycles.
Zeeshan Chand, the 17-year-old son of a pastor, was beaten by the mob and had to be hospitalised in Mardan. Rev Binyameen Barkat, the treasurer of the Northern Diocese of the Church of Pakistan, said, “We were under threats of such attacks since last week and had requested the local administration to provide security to the church property, which they did. However, it was not enough to stop the aggressive armed men”.
Christian leaders said those who attacked the church had brought kerosene and guns.
The church and the Christian school had reportedly been looted and the newly-installed computers were stolen by the miscreants.