Pakistani Christians chants slogans after they burn a tire during a demonstration demanding that the government rebuild their homes after they were burned down following an alleged blasphemy incident, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, March 10, 2013. The incident in Lahore began on Friday, March 8, 2013 after a Muslim accused a Christian man of blasphemy, an offence that in Pakistan is punished by life in prison or death. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Hundreds of Christians clashed with police across Pakistan on Sunday, a day after a Muslim mob burned dozens of homes owned by members of the minority religious group in retaliation for alleged insults against Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Christians are often the target of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, which rights activists say are frequently used to persecute religious minorities or settle personal disputes. Politicians have been reluctant to reform the laws for fear of being attacked by religious radicals, as has happened in the past.
The plight of Pakistan’s other religious minorities, such as Shiite Muslims, Hindus and Ahmadis, has also deepened in recent years as hard-line interpretations of Islam have gained ground and militants have stepped up attacks against groups they oppose. Most Pakistanis are Sunni Muslims.
The latest incident began Friday after a Muslim in the eastern city of Lahore accused a Christian man of blasphemy — an offense punishable by life in prison or even death. A day later, hundreds of angry Muslims rampaged through the Christian neighborhood, burning Login to read more