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Pakistani schools close to protest arson

March 11, 2013 at 2:28 PM

LAHORE, Pakistan, March 11 (UPI) -- Christian schools in Lahore, Pakistan, closed Monday to protest the arson burnings of more than 100 homes following blasphemy allegations.

More than 3,000 angry Muslims rampaged Saturday through Joseph Colony, a Christian area of Lahore following allegations a Christian made derogatory comments about the Prophet Muhammad three days earlier. About 150 people were arrested on riot and arson charges, the Indo-Asian News Service reported Monday.

There were no deaths reported but the incident triggered protest around the country from Christians, a small minority in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan, seeking better protection, the news service said.

"Missionary schools of Lahore will remain closed on Monday on account of the massacre in Joseph Colony," said Bishop Sebastian Shaw, chairman of the Catholic Board.

The schools are regarded as among the best in Pakistan, and attract the children in wealthy Muslim families, the news service noted.

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