28 Arrested in Pakistan for Attacks on Christians

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At least 28 people have been arrested in Sargodha, Punjab province, Pakistan, for attacking Christians amid rumors of alleged Quran desecration and blasphemy. An investigation has been launched involving 500 suspects, including 40 women, in connection with these attacks.

The situation in Sargodha remains tense following last week's attack by Muslims on a Christian family's home. Authorities have heightened security around churches and banned mass gatherings, reports TASS, citing the Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune.

The radicalization of Muslim sentiments in Sargodha was triggered by rumors of a local Christian resident desecrating the Quran. A mob burned his house and threatened other members of the Christian community. Police used tear gas on the attackers and made arrests under anti-terrorism laws.

This incident is not the first of its kind in Punjab province. In August last year, 100 people were arrested for participating in riots. In the city of Jaranwala, 17 churches were attacked after social media circulated photos and videos of burnt Quran pages, allegedly by two members of the local Christian community.

Under Pakistani law, blasphemy is punishable by death. Although no one has been executed under this law since Pakistan's independence in 1947, extrajudicial killings related to blasphemy and Quran desecration accusations have claimed 89 lives. Christians, numbering around 2.4 million, make up 1.3% of the predominantly Muslim country's population.

According to the international Christian organization Open Doors, Pakistan ranks tenth in the world for Christian persecution. Blasphemy laws are frequently used against minorities, with Christians being particularly affected. Approximately one-quarter of all blasphemy accusations are directed at Christians, who constitute just 1.3% of the population.

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