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Pakistani Muslims burn two churches

Feb. 20, 2006 at 5:11 AM

KARACHI, Pakistan, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Angry Muslims raided and set fire to two churches in southern Pakistan following allegations that a Christian had desecrated the Koran, reports said Monday.

Hundreds of protesters attacked and burned two churches in the city of Sukkur, some 300 miles north of Karachi, in Sindh province, Channel NewsAsia reported. A school at one of the churches was also damaged, but no injuries were reported.

News reports suggested that a teenage boy started the trouble by throwing pages of the Muslim holy book into a trash can.

Protesters burned tires to block roads, leading to paramilitary troops being called in.

Police arrested 50 people, including the Christian, and managed to disperse a mob that attacked the police station, demanding the accused young man.

Police said the act of desecration may have been an attempt by the Christian to frame his father-in-law for blasphemy, a crime punishable by death in Pakistan.

The incident followed almost daily protests in the city over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published recently in European newspapers.

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