By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Christians on Wednesday, March 23, were mourning the death of two believers who were shot and killed by suspected Muslim extremists outside a church in Pakistan’s city of Hyderabad.
Two other Christians were seriously injured in the March 21 attack, according to residents living in Hurr Camp, a colony of predominantly Christian workers.
The troubles began when Muslim youth gathered outside the building where Christians celebrated the 30th anniversary of their Salvation Army church, witnesses said.
Muslims allegedly played loud music from mobile phones and harassed Christian women trying to enter the church. Younis Masih, 47, and Siddique Masih, 45, attempted to stop the harassment. Both men were reportedly later shot dead by Muslim youth returning to the scene with handguns.
Two other Christian men, 22-year-old Jameel Masih and another men identified as Waseem, who also tried to calm down the Muslim mob, were seriously injured in the shootings, family said.
They were receiving emergency treatment Wednesday, March 23, in a regional hospital. Younis Masih leaves behind a wife and four children while Jameel Masih recently married.
Jameel Masih’s mother, Surrava Bibi, complained that police did not intervene to prevent the bloodshed. “The police is behaving as if nothing happened,” she told reporters. “Till late in the night they even refused to register the case. They only accepted our complain when we blocked a main street of Hyderabad with the two dead bodies.”
There was no immediate reaction from Pakistani officials, but several rights groups have said that local authorities often refuse to prevent attacks against the country’s minority Christians.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
The latest violence added to an already tense religious atmosphere in this heavily Islamic country following this month’s assassination of Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the cabinet.
Bhatti was shot and killed in Islamabad on March 2 by suspected Muslim militants after publicly criticizing Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy legislation. Later, a Christian man sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy against Islam’s Prophet Muhammad was found dead, March 15, in his prison cell in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi following death threats, his family and lawyer said.
Prison authorities claimed 55-year-old Qamar David, who had been in jail since 2006, died of “a heart attack”, but his wife and others have expressed skepticism about this claim.
Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its “war on terror”, has seen an increase in Muslim extremism, often fueled by groups related to the Taliban and Al-Qaida networks, according to several church groups.