Muslim villagers in Pakistan’s northeastern Punjab province are raising funds to help their Christian neighbors build a place of worship. The Christian population in the village of Faisalabad is small—just twenty families. These families have had to use someone’s home to perform prayers and hold festivities on holy days.
Construction work on the church began within one month of the announcement, igniting excitement in the Christian community. 150,000 Pakistani rupees (about $1,500 USD) were already raised for the church’s construction of the estimated total 700,000 rupees ($7,000 USD).
“We had four mosques in the village but no place of worship for Christians, as many of them are poor and lack the funds to build a church on their own,” said one of the Muslim fundraisers, Mian Ejaz. The Muslim community leaders wanted to give their Christian neighbors an Easter gift in the form of a church. According to Ejaz, “We want to tell the world that Pakistan isn’t a country of extremists—who are only a small minority—but a country of people who believe in religious tolerance and harmony. Moreover, the Christian world is doing a lot for Muslim refugees, so we should pay them [Christians] back in the same coin.”