A church in Blackburn is holding a vigil to pray for Christians facing attack in Pakistan over blasphemy allegations.
Two Christian brothers have been arrested on suspicion of blasphemy after their names, addresses and identity numbers were found in a desecrated copy of the Koran.
The incident resulted in a number of Imams calling for attacks on Christians, locals on the ground report.
Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes to escape the violence that has ensued, with some forced to hide in fields and sleep outside.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are infamous for their severity – insulting the Islamic faith or the Prophet Muhammad can carry a death sentence.
However, it’s mob rule that is of the greatest concern. Allegations of blasphemy have been known to result in lynching, and the perpetrators are often never brought to justice.
The vigil has been organised by Rev Dr Sarah Gill, the Bishop's Adviser on Black and Minority Ethnic and Global Majority Heritage Matters in the Diocese of Blackburn.
It will be held at St James’ Church, in Blackburn, at 4pm on Sunday, 8th August.
Rev Dr Sarah Gill said: “we encourage peace loving and justice loving people, irrespective of their faith, to join us either in person or online to express their solidarity with Christian suffering in Pakistan.
“All are welcome to join us.
“It will be for one hour, and will be an opportunity to pray for a Christian community, for safety and justice for Christians in Pakistan, for peace and harmony amongst people in Pakistan, for government and law enforcement agencies.
“We will be able to show some images of what has happened to raise awareness, and then there will be time of silence and we'll have some worship songs. So it will be very reflective service.”