US urges Pakistan to probe into church attacks
Hundreds of Muslim men attacked a predominantly Christian area on the outskirts of the eastern industrial city of Faisalabad on Wednesday.
The United States on Wednesday voiced alarm and urged Pakistan to investigate mob attacks against churches and Christian homes following rumors of blasphemy of Islam.
Hundreds of Muslim men attacked a predominantly Christian area on the outskirts of the eastern industrial city of Faisalabad on Wednesday, setting fire to churches.
"We are deeply concerned that churches and homes were targeted in response to reported Koran desecration in Pakistan," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.
He said that while the United States backed free expression, "violence or the threat of violence is never an acceptable form of expression."
"We urge Pakistani authorities to conduct a full investigation into these allegations and call for calm," he said.
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures can face the death penalty.
Critics say that rumors of insults to Islam are often fanned as a way to settle scores against non-Muslims.