Wednesday, January 17, 2018
News Roundup

Mob torches dozens of Pakistani Christian homes

LAHORE, Pakistan — Hundreds of people in eastern Pakistan rampaged through a Christian neighborhood Satuurday, torching dozens of homes after hearing reports that a Christian man had committed blasphemy against Islam's prophet.

Blasphemy is a serious crime in Pakistan that can carry the death penalty, but sometimes outraged residents exact their own retribution for perceived insults of the prophet Mohammed. Pakistan is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim and people of other faiths, including the small Christian community, are often viewed with suspicion.

The incident started Friday when a young Muslim man accused a Christian man of committing blasphemy by making offensive comments about the prophet, said Multan Khan, a senior police officer in Lahore.

A large crowd from a nearby mosque went to the Christian man's home on Friday night, Khan said. Police registered a blasphemy case against the man after the crowd gathered and demanded action, the officer said.

Fearing for their safety, hundreds of Christian families fled the area overnight.

Khan said the mob returned on Saturday and began ransacking Christian homes and setting them ablaze. He said no one in the Christian community was hurt, but several police officers were injured when they were hit with stones as they tried to keep the crowd from storming the area.

But Akram Gill, a local bishop in the Lahore Christian community, said the incident had more to do with personal enmity between two men — one Christian and one Muslim — than blasphemy. He said the men got into a brawl after drinking late one night, and in the morning the Muslim man made up the blasphemy story as payback.

He said the Christian community handed over to police the accused man, identified by police and Gill as Sawan Masih, when police came to the neighborhood to investigate. Then the Christians all locked up their houses and went to relatives in other areas. He said the mob was armed with hammers and steel rods and broke into houses, ransacked two churches and burned Bibles and crosses.

"Poor people were living here. They have lost all of their belongings," he said. "Where can they go now?"

The scene was chaotic. An Associated Press reporter said roughly 150 homes were torched. One man was seen carrying a dog and some puppies from a burning house. Refrigerators, washing and sewing machines, cooking pots, beds and other household goods were ripped from homes, smashed and burned in the streets.

After the mob dissipated, residents began to slowly return to their burned-out homes.

Comments
Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

LARGO — A top federal immigration official is in Pinellas County this afternoon to announce a workaround to a legal quandary faced by county sheriffs to detain suspected undocumented immigrants in local jails.U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

TALLAHASSEE — The death of a fraternity pledge from alcohol poisoning has led to hazing charges against nine Florida State University students.State attorney Jack Campbell filed charges on Wednesday in Leon County Court.All nine will be charged with ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Man robbed while responding to Craigslist sex ad

Man robbed while responding to Craigslist sex ad

HOLIDAY — A man responding to a Craiglist ad for sex was instead robbed by the boyfriend of the woman he was meeting, sheriff’s deputies said. Robert Roser, 39, of Holiday claimed he was part of a police sting operation before taking $60 and two blue...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Shake Shack inches closer to Tampa Bay with new Florida restaurant

Shake Shack inches closer to Tampa Bay with new Florida restaurant

Beloved burger restaurant Shake Shack, which once inspired hungry diners to wait in hours-long lines at New York's Madison Square Park before expanding with dozens of locations across the U.S., is inching closer to Tampa Bay. A lease agreement  with...
Updated: 29 minutes ago

Teen, 14, arrested on charges of bringing loaded gun to Plant City High School

PLANT CITY — A 14-year-old high school student was accused of bringing a loaded gun to campus on Tuesday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies arrested the boy after 3 p.m. at Plant City High School after administrators foun...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Two Tampa Bay area students among those facing hazing charges in FSU death

Two Tampa Bay area students among those facing hazing charges in FSU death

TALLAHASSEE — Two students from the Tampa Bay area, including the son of an assistant chief for the Tampa Police Department, have been charged in the hazing death of a Florida State University fraternity pledge.Christopher M. Hamlin, 20, of Valrico, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida teen is begging Taylor Swift to take him to prom

Florida teen is begging Taylor Swift to take him to prom

A Bradenton teenager isn’t hoping to take just anyone to his senior prom — he’s set his sights high.Dayton Modderman, a senior at Bradenton Christian School, is getting attention across the web for making a prom-posal video asking Taylor Swift to be ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago
Carb bonanza: Three new bakeries open, including an Australian bakery, new La Segunda

Carb bonanza: Three new bakeries open, including an Australian bakery, new La Segunda

LA SEGUNDAA Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrated that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ann Curry ‘not surprised’ by Matt Lauer scandal, says NBC had a ‘climate of verbal harassment’

Ann Curry ‘not surprised’ by Matt Lauer scandal, says NBC had a ‘climate of verbal harassment’

After Matt Lauer was fired from the "Today" show in November due to allegations of sexual harassment, multiple awkward TV moments from his past came to light, particularly regarding conversations with women. One incident got a lot of renewed attentio...
Updated: 2 hours ago