LAHORE: Christians should be thankful amid persecution because of their faith.
According to details, Bishop Akram Gill- leader of one of Pakistan’s largest Pentecostal Churches says,” I am thankful to God for persecution after I and other Church members were attacked by violent Muslims, with police refusing to intervene.”
Bishop Akram Gill, a 53-year-old Christian leader; who has been entrusted the responsibility to oversee 207 affiliated congregations, several of these in Lahore only. In a recent incident, furniture and Bibles were torched by furious Muslim mob. Bishop Akram Gill overseer of the Lahore-based congregation of 35,000 at the Emmanuel Church says”When I am in trouble I say thanks to God.”
Bishop Akram Gill recalls the incident of Joseph Colony arson saying, “problems began when Sawan Masih was refused a hair cut by the local barber shop’s Muslim owner, Imran Shahid, triggering a heated exchange about religion between the two men.”
Bishop Akram Gill claims he was almost killed when he and his two sons arrived to help Church members and other Christians of the Joseph Colony. “The moment I reached Joseph Colony, the mob attacked my car and started beating me. They also beat my son Charles Rickey Gill, who was driving my car, and my second son Alfred Vicky Gill, who was with me on the back seat,” he said.
He adds, “Despite severe beatings to my sons, by the Grace of God they managed to rescue themselves from the religiously motivated violence and runaway from the place.”
“During my search I noticed that police ordered Christian residents to vacate the Joseph Colony and that they detained Chaman Masih, the father of the accused who was also beaten,” Bishop Gill explained.
“On the first day of the attacks in Lahore’s Joseph Colony I noticed that the Islamic cleric spread false information through the loudspeakers of the mosque…” saying “Sawan Masih committed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad,” he revealed.
“The angry protesters also started looting and crushing the households of Christians,” he added.
“Christian houses, eight shops, motorcycles, auto rickshaws, electricity meters, gas meters, iron rods used in roofs were melted down on the floor while furniture, trunks, crockery and many more household items burned totally,” he continued.
“I am providing shelter and protection to Chaman Masih and his family and really concerned about them. My pastor Sunil and his family residents of Joseph Colony are also receiving death threats from Muslim extremists,” he said.
“From day one I am spending my time in the Joseph Colony to [help end] the misery of innocent Christians. I even launched a legal case against the Muslim mob and the Supreme Court of Pakistan is dealing with it,” he said.
Despite witnessing severe persecution and barely escaping death he does not give up hope, “As a servant of God it is my primary duty to protect the lost sheep of God,” he asserts.