In the Green Town area of Nishtar Tehsil in Lahore, Pakistan, a Muslim man reportedly climbed the cross on the roof of a church and chanted Islamic verses threatening the local public. He was accompanied by two other men who insulted local Christian men while ogling and making sexual gestures at young Christian girls in the locality.
Muhammed Bilal Saleem entered a factory and ascended the facility’s steps to the roof. He vaulted across to the roof of the adjacent church, where he straddled a massive cross anchored on a metal structure. Bilal began frantically swaying on the cross while yelling “Allah-u-Akbar” and other Islamic phrases.
A Twitter user Arzoo Kazmi, whose profile indicates that she is a Pakistani journalist, shared the video writing, “A Muslim fanatic climbed onto a church roof and chanted Islamic verses as he tried to terrorise a local community while vandalising a large cross. & #PMImranKhan is talking about #Islamophobia”
A Muslim fanatic climbed onto a church roof and chanted Islamic verses as he tried to terrorise a local community while vandalising a large cross.— Arzoo Kazmi 🇵🇰 ✒🖋🕊🕊 (@Arzookazmi30) March 23, 2022
& #PMImranKhan is talking about #Islamophobia 🙄🙄😏😏 pic.twitter.com/AdL75AkjcY
It can be clearly seen in the video the person violently hurls “Allah-u-Akbar” slogans and swings the cross. However, it is not clear about the date and time of the video but it is most likely a recent video as per many reports.
A large crowd of Christians gathered to see what was causing the uproar. At the same moment, several of them phoned the local police and were informed that a police team would arrive immediately to investigate the matter. Some Church members and other Christians went to his aid once he was brought down from the cross.
As reports suggest, Muhammad Bilal works in a facility that manufactures window grills, which is close to the Green Town locality. An FIR has also been filed against Muhammad Bilal for blasphemy under sections 295 and 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code. Bilal is also being prosecuted for trespass and criminal damage. Despite their involvement in the abuse and vandalism, no action is being taken against Bilal’s companions.
Minorities in Pakistan
Pakistan has a dismal record of protecting its minority population. Christian and Hindu minorities in Pakistan face ongoing persecution at the hands of the country’s Muslim radicals. Muslim extremists frequently abduct girls from minority cultures, force them to marry and convert them to Islam. Non-compliance or resistance has frequently resulted in their murder.
In January this year, two Christian pastors were shot by miscreants in Peshawar’s Madina Market in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. The pastors were members of Peshawar’s All Saints Church, which has been in existence since 1883. In September 2013, the Church was the target of a terrible terror assault, which resulted in the deaths of over 75 people.
In the case of blasphemy, the Pakistani legal system appears to sympathize with the extremists. In September 2020, a Pakistani court in Lahore convicted a Christian man of blasphemy and sentenced him to death under the contentious ‘blasphemy’ legislation. Asif Pervaiz Masih, 37, was punished by the Lahore Session Court for insulting Islam and sending a ‘blasphemous’ SMS to a former supervisor at work. Masih was detained in 2013 on suspicion of blasphemy.