A pastor was shot and wounded by hardline Muslims earlier this month in Jaranwala, Pakistan, just two weeks after churches and Christian properties in the area were destroyed by an Islamist-inspired mob.
Rev Eleazar Sidhu was returning home with an assistant after pastoral visits to church members on September 3 when two men stopped him.
‘One of the attackers pulled out a pistol and asked me to recite the Islamic Kalima, [profession of faith],’ he was able to state afterwards in the First Information Report (FIR) filed at the Saddar Police Station in Jaranwala. ‘When I refused and instead started to recite the Apostles’ Creed, the man opened fire, resulting in a bullet wound on the upper half of my chest [on the shoulder]. The assailants fled after the attack.’
The incident came a week after Islamist slogans were written on the walls of his church building, sources said. Pastor Sidhu said he had received threats after police helped him to remove the graffiti.
He said: ‘My congregation was already fearful after the attacks in various colonies in Jaranwala, but they panicked when our church walls were vandalised on August 28. However, the timely intervention of the police and deployment of personnel had instilled some sense of security in the village.’
Minorities Alliance Pakistan Chairman Advocate Akmal Bhatti condemned the attack on the pastor, saying it had increased fear among Christians in Faisalabad District. He added that the operation to remove the bullet from Sidhu had been successful and, although he had lost a lot of blood, he was out of danger.
Mobs incited by hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan attacked churches and homes of Christian residents in Jaranwala on August 16. Numerous churches were set on fire and homes and businesses were ransacked for hours while police were silent spectators, triggering worldwide condemnation.
Terrorists killed two Christians in a town in Taraba state, Nigeria, yesterday, wounded several others and kidnapped six people, sources said.
‘Six Christians were kidnapped by terrorists in the Mile Six area of Jalingo,’ local resident Emmanuel Moses told Morning Star News in a text message. ‘These terrorists, too, killed two Christians, Balanko Alex and his wife, while many other Christians were injured during the attack.’
In southern Kaduna state last Thursday Fulani militants burned a seminary student to death in a failed kidnapping attempt, sources said.
In an attack at about 8pm on the rectory of St Raphael’s Church in Fadan Kamantan, in southern Kaduna, terrorists unable to enter the home of the parish priest they sought to kidnap instead set it on fire, according to news outlet ACI Africa, citing an interview by Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi with charity Aid to the Church in Need.
The priest, Rev Emmanuel Okolo, and his assistant managed to escape, but the fire killed seminary student Na’aman Danlami, aged 25, Kundi is reported to have said.
PRAISE AND PRAYER
- Thank God that Pastor Sidhu was not more seriously injured. Please pray for his full recovery
- Pray that Sidhu’s courage in defying his assailants would inspire local Christians to remain strong in their faith
- Pray that Christians in Jaranwala will know God’s peace and protection following the recent mob violence and that those responsible for the attacks would be brought to justice
- Ask God to comfort all those affected by the killing of Balanko Alex and his wife and Na’aman Danlami, and by the kidnappings. Pray for healing for the injured and that those who were abducted would be freed unharmed
(Source: Morning Star News)