2012 Video Of A Mob Setting Fire To A Church In Pakistan Revived

BOOM found that the video is from 2012 when protesters set a church and school on fire in North West Pakistan to protest against a film.

An old video showing a mob set fire to a church in Pakistan is being revived on social media by multiple Twitter handles including Pakistan-born Canadian author Tarek Fatah. The video shows a mob protesting against the release of a film and then eventually demolishing a church and an adjoining school in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area. The incident occurred in September, 2012.

It is being shared by multiple users as recent while stating that the condition of the minorities in the country is a matter of concern.

The video has also been shared by Renee Lynn. BOOM has fact-checked both Lynn and Fatah for sharing misinformation in the past.

The video is also being widely shared on Facebook.


Old incident from 2012

The viral video has text running which identify the incident as a demolition of a church and school in Pakistan's Mardan region. According to reports, on September 21, 2012, Muslim protesters set fire on an 82-year-old church, the Sarhadi Lutheran Church and a school in the city of Mardan in northwest Pakistan. The mob was protesting against the film 'Innocence of Muslims', that sparked controversy worldwide.

An excerpt from a report in The Express Tribune reads, "A furious mob set alight a church along with residential quarters of some Christians in the Cantt area of Mardan as thousands took to the streets across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa against the anti-Islam film to mark Ishq-e-Rasool Day. According to DIG Mardan Abdullah, the people were returning from their protest on Mall Road when they entered the Sarhadi Lutheran Church and smashed the furniture inside."

The renovation of the Sarhadi Lutheran Church began in March 2013. Below is a comparison of the church torched in the viral footage and the Lutheran Church where the renovation process began in 2013.


We also came across footage showing the aftermath of the incident in a video uploaded by AP Archive.

What led to the demolition of the Lutheran Church in 2012?

Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool Day was observed on September 21 throughout Pakistan to protest against the film 'Innocence of Muslims.' The film, written by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, drew protests in several countries, according to critics it depicted the Prophet Muhammad in an objectionable manner. According to a report in Al Jazeera, "The trailer depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a womaniser and leader of a group of men who enjoy killing." Protest marches and attack on embassies across countries were reported after the film was released on the internet.

Violent protests erupted in several cities throughout Pakistan on September 21. According to reports, as many as 20 people were killed across the country during the protests. The live updates from that day, which state that protesters had torched a church in Mardan, was also uploaded on The Express Tribune's Live Blog.


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