Cultural Misunderstanding: Mob Violence in Pakistan Over Arabic Calligraphy

In a distressing turn of events in Lahore, Pakistan, a woman faced a violent assault from a radical mob who mistakenly accused her of blasphemy due to her choice of clothing. The attackers, associated with Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, believed that the Arabic calligraphy on the woman’s dress contained Quranic verses, leading to an escalation of tension in the Ichhra Market area.

The Incident:

The incident unfolded when the woman entered a restaurant wearing a white dress adorned with random Arabic words such as “beautiful” and “sweet.” The mob, fueled by a misguided belief that the dress featured Quranic verses, confronted and assaulted her, sparking fears of potential mob lynching.

Police Intervention:

Swift police action prevented further harm, with ASP Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi taking a courageous stand to rescue the woman from the violent crowd. Punjab Police IG Dr. Usman Anwar commended ASP Naqvi’s bravery and recommended her for the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal (QPM), highlighting her dedication to maintaining law and order.

Clarification on the Dress:

An essential clarification emerged regarding the dress in question – it did not bear any Quranic verses. Instead, it was a creation from the Saudi Arabian label Shalik Riyadh, launched during Ramadan in 2022. The brand, known for its Ramadan collection, had showcased the dress on Instagram with no intention of causing offense.

Response from the Woman:

The victimized woman, identified as a Sunni Muslim, expressed regret over the incident, emphasizing that she had no intention of disrespecting Islam. Apologizing for any unintended offense, she pledged to be more cautious in the future with her fashion choices.

Public Reaction:

In the aftermath of the incident, a wave of condemnation swept through Pakistani social media, with many expressing concern over the potential for misinterpretation of cultural symbols. Some netizens cautioned fashion labels against designs that could be easily misconstrued, highlighting the need for cultural sensitivity.


The Lahore incident sheds light on the consequences of misguided perceptions and the importance of fostering understanding in communities with deeply held religious beliefs. It underscores the role of law enforcement in preserving public safety and emphasizes the significance of open dialogue to prevent similar incidents in the future. As societies navigate the delicate balance between freedom of expression and religious sensitivities, efforts to promote tolerance and awareness become increasingly crucial.


Q: What triggered the mob assault on a woman in Lahore?

A: The mob attacked the woman, believing she committed blasphemy by wearing a dress with Arabic calligraphy, which they mistakenly thought contained Quranic verses.

Q: Who led the mob in Lahore?

A: Members of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan led the radical mob in Lahore.

Q: What is the punishment for blasphemy in Pakistan?

A: Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.

Q: Where did the incident occur in Lahore?

A: The assault took place in a restaurant in Ichhra Market, Lahore.

Q: How did the police intervene during the mob assault?

A: A female police officer, ASP Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi, risked her life to rescue the woman, preventing potential mob lynching.

Q: What brand was the dress from, and what did it feature?

A: The dress was from the Saudi Arabian label Shalik Riyadh, launched during Ramazan in 2022. It featured random Arabic words like “beautiful” and “sweet,” not Quranic verses.

Q: How did the victim respond to the incident?

A: The victim, a Sunni Muslim, expressed regret, apologized, and affirmed her commitment to never intentionally disrespect Islam.

Q: What recognition did the police officer receive for her bravery?

A: ASP Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi was recommended for the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal (QPM), the highest gallantry award for law enforcement in Pakistan.

Q: How did the public react to the incident?

A: While some Pakistani netizens condemned the assault, others cautioned against using potentially misunderstood designs in fashion labels.


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