Mardan Christians unhappy with security; demand reconstruction of burnt church

MARDAN: The Christian community of Mardan, on Saturday, demanded reconstruction of the Paul Lutheran Church which was burnt down by angry mob during the anti-Islam film demonstrations in the cantonment area on Friday.
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 Reuters

The Christian community staged a demonstration near the burnt church and said that the police had failed to protect their worship place when angry protestors set the church on fire along with two Pastor houses and the adjacent head-teacher’s house.

Vice president of the church Andaryat, speaking to reporters in Mardan, on Saturday said that the Christian community equally condemn the sacrilegious film and demand action against the pastor and the filmmaker.

“Due to personal acts of a few fanatics the Christian community and its worship places in Pakistan are becoming unsafe, which is regrettable.”

He remarked that the church and the Christian school had been looted and the newly-installed computers had been stolen by the miscreants while the looters also take away other stuff from the church

The protestors carrying placards and banners also condemned the act of violence and decried the police for its failure for not protecting the church.

Andaryat said: “The divine books in the church have also been burnt down while the church has totally been ransacked and in a shambles,” adding, “we would need a lot of government support to rebuild it and hope the KPK government and the Chief Minister from Mardan will be coming to our help.”

Bishop of Peshawar Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters has also appealed for support from the Anglican Communion and said “the damage had been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers.”

Placards showing dissatisfaction over the state of security for Christians said proper measures must be take to protect Christians properties and worship places

Andaryat to a query said: “we are Pakistanis first and than Christians, so we would condemn any such act which would be against Islam or any other religion and would expect the same treatment from our Muslim brothers as well.”

“We are peaceful and hold Muslim and their religious faith in high esteem and condemn the individual act which had become a source of embarrassment and outrage for the Muslims across the world, but we also need protection and respect from them.”