Muslims Halt Construction of Church Wall for Livestock
18 Jun 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C: June 18, 2009. International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that four radical Muslims are trying to stop Christians in Pakistan from building a boundary wall
around the only church in their village because the Muslims use the church's land to stable their livestock. To make matters worse, the police are refusing to defend the rights of Christians to build on their own property.
There are about 100 Christian families living in the village of Chung Khurd in the suburbs of Lahore Cantt who say they have peacefully co-existed with their Muslim neighbors for many years. Even though there have been Christians in this village for decades, it was not until last year that the community was able to pool funds to construct a church there. This year, the community raised money to construct a boundary wall around the church to keep out animals and thieves.
On May 3, they began construction of the boundary wall. Just a few hours after they had started working, a group of four Muslim neighbors, accompanied by police, approached the worksite and said they had a stay order from the courthouse to stop construction of the boundary wall.
The next day, the head representative of the Christian community, Bashir Masih, went to the police station to complain to the officer in charge. He was able to obtain a meeting with the Station House Officer on May 7, but when he arrived at the scheduled time, the officer refused to meet with him. Instead, the officer's assistant told Bashir that the Muslims had the right to stop the church's construction project.
Bashir told ICC that most of the Muslim residents of the village are in favor of the church being able to build the boundary wall. Only four men oppose it: Shaukat Shad, Mohammad Yousaf, Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Akbar Bhatti. The reason why these four men oppose the construction of the boundary wall is that the church is located in a central position in the village and they use the premises of the church to park their cars and stable their cows and buffaloes.
On May 14, a group of Muslims told Bashir that the courthouse had scheduled a hearing on their case for May 26, even though they had not served notice to the church. In addition, police officers keep threatening the church not to work on the boundary wall, and claim it is because they are preparing a police report on the situation.
Despite repeated requests, the Station House Officer refused to speak to ICC.