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Pakistan: Muslim mob kills grandmother and children over 'Facebook blasphemy'

Pakistan mob kills four.
Pakistan mob kills four.
Twitter - Public Domain

Angered for what they consider blasphemy, hundreds of Pakistani Muslims attacked the homes of a minority Muslim sect, killing four. As reported by The Wall Street Journal and Great Britain's The Telegraph, both on July 28, 2014, several hundred Sunnis attacked members of the country's Ahmadi Muslim minority, burning homes and businesses and eventually causing the death of a grandmother, her two granddaughters and also an unborn child.

In the eastern Pakistani city of Gujranwala, an unidentified young man who happens to be a member of the often persecuted Ahmadi community got into a shouting match with another young Pakistani male, presumably a member of the majority Sunni branch of Islam, when the figurative push came to shove. The rumor mill in the city kicked into high gear when eventually the word on the street was that the young Ahmadi man had posted certain material deemed objectionable and insulting towards Islam on Facebook.

Eventually, a crowd numbering "several hundred" physically attacked homes and businesses owned by Ahmadis. Ostensibly enraged because the yet to be identified Ahmadi young man allegedly posted on the social media giant Facebook a doctored image of the Ka'aba with nude people superimposed. The four story tall cube-shaped rock centered in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Ka'aba is the object that observant Muslims around the world face in prayer five times a day, as well as consider to be not only the navel of the planet, but also the center of the universe.

Speaking on the grounds of strict anonymity, a member of the Gujranwala Police Department claimed that while a crowd of 150 Sunnis marched on a police station demanding the young Ahmadi be charged with blasphemy, another separate Sunni mob attacked the Ahmadi neighborhood. With more than a few buildings in flames, a 55-year-old woman and her two granddaughters were killed in the burning buildings.

Police spokesman Zeeshan Siddiqi stated the woman and her two grandchildren, aged 7 and 8, died of suffocation and that another pregnant Ahmadi woman miscarried during the riots. Her unborn child died as a result of the night's rioting. However, Ahmadi leader Salim ud Din said "it was the worst attack on the community since simultaneous attacks on Ahmadi places of worship killed 86 Ahmadis four years ago."

According to Din, his take on the violence was quite different than that of the police spokesman. "Police were there but just watching the burning. They didn't do anything to stop the mob," he said. "First they looted their homes and shops and then they burnt the homes."

Ahmadis consider themselves Muslim, but Pakistan's Sunni majority not only theologically disagree, they have their disagreements enshrined in Pakistani civil and criminal law. Unlike their Sunni neighbors, the Ahmadi believe God sent mankind a prophet after Mohammed. Because of a differing belief, in 1984 Pakistani law declared the Ahmadis heretics and are to be considered non-Muslims.

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