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Pakistan evangelist set on fire by Muslim extremists
An evangelical pastor in Pakistan is recovering slowly from wounds he received after Muslim extremists set him on fire in Punjab last month, because they were angry at him for preaching the gospel.
Pastor Wilson Augustine, 26, was going from door to door in his neighborhood on the outskirts of Saraghoda handing out pamphlets, BosNewsLife said. Six Muslim brothers from Village 96-NB read the pamphlet and became enraged at a portion that spoke of Jesus’ resurrection.
They told Augustine that the pamphlet insulted the prophet Muhammad and ordered him to leave the village, threatening “dire consequences” if he continued to preach in the area, BosNewsLife reported.
Augustine left, but went to neighboring villages to evangelize, then preached in a small church. That night, as he waited at the bus stop to go home, men on three motorcycles flashed their headlights into his eyes and roared their engines, BosNewsLife said.
Augustine recognized their voices as the six brothers who threatened him earlier that day. They assaulted him with belts and clubs, doused him in liquid, lit a match and set him aflame, BosNewsLife reported.
Augustine’s body was found by Christians the next day among the bushes, where he fell unconscious. He was swathed in dried blood and his clothes were shred. They took him to the burn unit of a hospital, BosNewsLife reported. He was released after four days and continues to recover.
Police hesitate to file a report
When Augustine’s father reported the attack to the police, they hesitated to file a report saying the father of the six attackers was a powerful and wealthy man, BosNewsLife said.
The police only filed the case after local church leaders and a politician exerted pressure on the registrar, BosNewsLife reported. However, they would not place the names of the six men on the report, saying Augustine may have mistaken their identities as it was dark.
Similar attacks have occurred in Punjab in the past against Christians. Earlier this year Arshed Masih was burned to death by Muslim extremists in front of a police station. Afterwards, the police raped Masih’s wife, Martha, BosNewsLife reported.
The attacks drew international condemnation, even as rights groups continue to call on the Pakistani government to protect the rights of Christians in the country, BosNewsLife said.