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1.13.2006
  Pakistani Drops Blasphemy Charges, Nevermind Those 4 Churches
There was a tense calm returned in Pakistan's Punjabi town of Sangla Hill Thursday, January 12, two months after the country's worst religious violence there in years, as a Muslim dropped blasphemy charges against a Christian he had accused of burning the Quran.

The accusations made by Mohammad Saleem Kalu against Yousaf Masih, a Sangla Hill Christian, sparked a violent reprisal on November 12 from up to 2,000 Muslims.

The angry crowd reportedly destroyed at least four churches as well as a convent, two Catholic schools, the homes of a Protestant pastor and a Catholic parish priest, a girls’ hostel and as yet unknown number of houses of other Christians in the region.

In what was seen as a major victory for Masih, who had maintained his innocence, the Muslim accuser signed a document declaring the Christian’s innocence. Saleem reportedly said he had accused Masih on the basis of "mere suspicion" and signed an affidavit declaring Masih innocent.

As part of the agreement, the Christian and Muslim communities signed a "document of peace and reconciliation." Local Christian leaders also agreed not to press charges against the mob of 2,000 Muslims who attacked the town’s Christian community, news reports said.
 
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