Background: On August 16th, 2023, a violent mob of Muslim extremists attacked the Christian community of Jaranwala in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. They ransacked and burned down many churches and homes of the minority Christian population. Christians were threatened and harassed after being falsely accused of desecrating the Quran. It is estimated that over 20 official churches and home churches were burned down, as well as 100 homes in this attack, which appears to have been coordinated to provoke fear among Christians throughout the city. Many Christian families fled to the sugar cane fields in the dark to hide from the mob while their homes burned. This fear is still present a month later as recovery starts.
“Christians make up about 2% of the population, occupy one of the lowest rungs in Pakistani society and are frequently targeted with spurious and unfounded blasphemy allegations” - "Mob attacks churches in eastern Pakistan after blasphemy claim” The Guardian
Pakistan has severe laws (and citizens can even be put to death) for blasphemy against the Quran and/or the prophet Mohammed. There have been many false accusations of Christians over the years that have led to violence and death for some who are found later to be innocent. This attack was fueled by false accusations circulated over social media in the days leading up the attack.
“After speaking with local Christians, a partner of Open Doors said, “Where churches were burnt, the adjacent buildings were left untouched. The mob began by breaking down doors and windows, calling for blood, seeking out Bibles and crosses and destroying anything Christian - even the graves in the cemetery. They climbed onto buildings, pulled down crosses from churches, pillaging and destroying whatever they could find.” Piles of Bibles were burned, many still on fire 30 hours later. He continues: “We believe that an initial group of men ran ahead breaking down doors, then another followed with acid and drenched homes, Bibles and cupboards and then a third group carried away appliances, beds and those articles that could be sold. The final group came through looking for whatever had been left behind.” - OpenDoorsuk.org
Current: Our partners at Messiah Ministries live and serve near this community in a Christian village called Youngsonabad, 35 km away. They have a team of volunteers who will serve the families in this community with love, Christian support, Bibles and household items. Over the next three months, the team will volunteer almost 100 hours of their time to support 50-60 families in Jaranwala. At E4 Project, we see strategic positioning here for our partners to establish credibility in a new city where they can serve both Christians and Muslims moving forward.
Cost: $5,400 to cover the cost of food, utensils, bedding, Bibles for 50-60 families as well as backpacks and school supplies for the children in each family.