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Priest averts church attack
Threat to Christians after youth elopes with married Muslim womanA plaque on a Church reconstructed after a mob attack in Punjab province
- ucanews.com reporter, Gojira
- March 19, 2012
âA local maulana [Muslim cleric] threatened a deadly attack on the church if I didnât find a Muslim girl who eloped with a Catholic youth,â said Father Yaqub Yousaf, parish priest of the Sacred Heart Church in Gojra.
âHe called it an insult to their honor and a conspiracy cooked up by Christians in the wake of violence here in 2009. I was afraid after receiving several other telephone threats,â said Father Yaqub Yousaf, parish priest of the Sacred Heart Church in Gojra.
Three years ago, Gojra made international headlines after a Muslim mob raided the Christian colony, two days after setting fire to nearby Korian village.
Ten Christians were killed, seven of them burned alive, while four churches were destroyed following an accusation of blasphemy.
Fears of similar violence grew last week after Anil Aftab, 22, eloped with a married woman on Thursday. Fr Yousaf with the help of local leaders, Christians and Muslims, found the woman at the weekend and handed her over to police. Aftabâs family is in hiding.
âThere is no chance the family can return home. Such incidents have become the norm and poor minorities continue getting exploited. We are trying to discourage youths from doing things which can endanger the whole community,â said Fr Yousaf.
âThe majority encourages a non-Muslim girl to embrace Islam and marry outside her religion but show zero tolerance if Muslim girls want to marry a non-Muslim.â