A home church in Islamabad was attacked by a mob during worship service on Sunday evening after an alleged harassment incident that involved the church pastor’s daughter and the attackers.
According to Pastor Younas Masih of the Voice of Jesus Church, over 40 assailants opened fire and pelted bricks at his church following a scuffle between his son and two motorcyclists who were teasing his daughter.
According to the pastor, the assailants, identified as Amir and Khurram, harassed his daughter who was accompanied by his son. When his son intervened to forbid them, they assaulted the brother and sister on the road.
Later on, the men and their accomplices barged into the church during a prayer session and harassed the attendees by firing shots in the air and pelting the building with bricks.
The Khanna police station have registered a case under the anti-terrorism law and deployed two police personnel at the church for security, he said.
The pastor added that Christian women in the neighborhood are often harassed by groups of men while on their way for prayers.
“We are providing names of more culprits to the police and hoping some action will be taken,” he added.
A police official said they have arrested four attackers, including two accused nominated in the FIR. He claimed that it was not a religious issue since both parties lived in the same street.
Church leaders and rights activists have repeatedly voiced concerns over growing intolerance and security threats to minority communities.
Hours before the church attack in Islamabad, a mob desecrated the dome and minarets of a 118-year-old Ahmadiyya place of worship at Ghughiat village in Punjab province.
Seven Ahmadiyya places of worship have been desecrated in Punjab and Sindh provinces this year alone, according to community leaders.