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Pastor Shot for Declining Islamic Profession of Faith Recitation

In Jaranwala, Pakistan, a pastor was shot and injured by hardline Muslims on Sunday evening. This incident occurred a week after Islamist slogans were written on the walls of his church building. The pastor, Rev. Eleazar Sidhu, leads a Presbyterian church in Kukranwala village, located in the Khanuwana area of Jaranwala tehsil, Faisalabad District. According to Rev. Sidhu, the attackers demanded that he recite the Islamic creed before shooting him. The incident took place as he was returning home to Rehmat Town with an assistant after visiting church members. Two bearded men stopped their motorcycle near the Khanuwana bus stop.

Pastor Sidhu stated in the First Information Report (FIR) filed at the Saddar Police Station in Jaranwala that one of the attackers brandished a pistol and demanded that he recite the Islamic Kalima, which is the profession of faith. When Pastor Sidhu declined and instead began reciting the Apostles’ Creed, the assailant fired a shot, causing a bullet wound on the upper part of his chest, near the shoulder. After the attack, the assailants fled the scene.

On August 28th, unknown individuals vandalized the walls of Pastor Sidhu’s church with Islamist slogans. These slogans, when translated into English, read “Muhammad is Allah’s last prophet,” “Here I am at your service, O Messenger of Allah,” and “Vicky is accursed,” which refers to the pastor’s nickname. Pastor Sidhu was conducting early morning prayers when a female member informed him about the vandalism. The police were immediately called, and they whitewashed the walls in their presence. Pastor Sidhu also filed a case against the unidentified vandals. After the graffiti was removed with the help of the police, Pastor Sidhu started receiving threats.

“Three days later, while returning home with his son after picking him up from school, they were stopped by some unidentified bearded men. These men threatened Pastor Sidhu, stating that he would be “deleted from the world” in the same way he had removed the graffiti from the church walls.”

He stated that the man who shot at him on Sunday was one of the individuals who had previously threatened him.

The pastor mentioned that four Presbyterian churches were among the 21 church buildings that were attacked by Muslim mobs in Jaranwala on August 16. These attacks occurred after two Christian brothers were accused of desecrating the Quran.

“My congregation was already afraid after the attacks in different colonies in Jaranwala, but they became panicked when our church walls were vandalized on August 28,” he explained. “However, the police’s timely intervention and deployment of personnel provided some sense of security in the village.”

Advocate Akmal Bhatti, Chairman of the Minorities Alliance Pakistan, condemned the attack on Pastor Sidhu. He stated that it had increased fear among Christians in Faisalabad District.

“We are grateful to God for saving the pastor’s life,” Bhatti told Morning Star News. “The doctors have successfully removed the bullet after an operation on Sunday night. Eleazar is now out of danger, although he had lost a significant amount of blood.”

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