Christians Flee for Their Lives after Viral Facebook Post in Pakistan Calls for Burning Christian Homes and Churches

SHAHERYAR GILL, ACLJ

A young Christian, Sonu Arshad, and his family in Pakistan are on the run after a Facebook post containing the logo of a local Muslim TV channel called for killing Arshad and burning Christian homes and churches.

Our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice’s (ECLJ) office in Pakistan, the Organization for Legal Aid (OLA), received word and went to Arshad’s hometown, Sukheki village, to investigate. The team discovered that the Christian homes were locked and vacated. The Muslim residents of the area informed the OLA members that they were unaware that anything was amiss until the local police had entered the village earlier.

The team members then met with Tahir Hussain, the police officer in charge of the local police station. Hussain said that the police took notice after the threatening Facebook post had appeared. The post, containing the logo of Madni TV channel, stated that “Pastor” Sonu Arshad was “spreading false teachings.” It demanded death for Arshad and urged Muslims to burn Christian homes and churches.

Hussain also informed the team that he filed charges against unnamed persons for posting the threatening material on Facebook and urged the Christians residents to temporarily leave the village for their safety. Though there had been some rumors that Muslims might form a mob after Friday prayers, Hussain said that the police were monitoring the village and the situation was under control.

Sub-inspector, Muhammad Awais, and some Muslim elders of the village told our team that Muslims and Christians of the village were on good terms with each other. They said that they were working toward the safe return of Christian families to their homes.

We request you to keep Arshad, his family, and other Christians of Sukheki village in your prayers, especially for their safe return to their homes and wisdom for the police and other Muslims to deal with the situation wisely. We will inform you as we learn of any updates.


Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.


Shaheryar Gill serves as Senior Litigation Counsel with the ACLJ in Virginia Beach, where he works on international religious freedom issues. He also oversees ECLJ’s affiliate office in Pakistan, which provides legal assistance to persecuted Christians. Shaheryar Gill has authored numerous country reports, detailing the situation of religious freedom, and has co-authored several ACLJ publications. He has represented clients from several countries in religious persecution cases. Shaheryar Gill has also served as an expert witness in asylum cases before the United Kingdom’s Immigration and Asylum Tribunal. Shaheryar Gill is a graduate of Handong International Law School in South Korea, where he served as Senior Editor of Joint Regent-Handong Journal of International Law. He received his LL.M. from Regent University School of Law. Shaheryar Gill has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Regent University School of Law, where he has taught Public International Law and guest lectured on National Security Law and Christian Foundations of Law. He is also a Fellow of the Centre for Study of Law & Public Policy at Oxford.