International charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will be providing emergency support to the victims of anti-Christian riots that took place in Jaranwala, in the district of Punjab, Pakistan.
According to the local diocese of Faisalabad, the riots were sparked on 16 August by a false accusation of blasphemy, when rumours began to spread that a man and his son had disrespected the Quran by placing their photographs on its pages. Mobs then proceeded to attack Christians, their homes and places of worship. Local authorities did nothing to stem the violence and the attackers blocked the roads into Jaranwala to prevent any outside assistance from reaching the victims.
Miraculously, no Christians were killed in the attacks, but hundreds of families had to flee and lost all their possessions and their livelihoods, being forced to stay with relatives or even out in the surrounding fields.
The diocese has identified 464 families that are in more desperate need and has devised a plan to provide them first with immediate assistance, and then with the goods and help necessary to rebuild their lives. “The lives of these people are in grave danger, as they struggle to survive amidst immense hardship”, said the bishop of Faisalabad, Bishop Indrias Rehmat to ACN.
The items required for the families include basic necessities such as clothes, kitchen appliances, bedding and mattresses, stationary for school children and even rickshaws and motorcycles for drivers and delivery boys whose vehicles were destroyed in the attacks.
“Bishop Indrias Rehmat requested financial assistance from ACN, and the charity is pleased to announce that it will be funding a relief project, to help the Christian community, and these 464 families in particular, to get back on their feet”, said Marco Mencaglia, ACN’s director of projects. “We are ready to consider future support for the renovation of fully burned houses and church buildings in Jaranwala, if needed”, he added.
“We look forward to collaborating with ACN to alleviate the suffering of these unfortunate victims, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude for your attention and cooperation in this matter to the benefactors”, Bishop Indrias Rehmat told ACN.
- By Filipe d’Avillez
Featured Image: Church and Christian homes destroyed after the extremists' attack. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.