by Shafique Khokhar
The perpetrators are two young Muslim men, still on the loose. The Christian suffered a head injury and a broken arm. The man: “I may not be rich, but I will fight for justice and for the respect and the dignity of my family.”
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Insulted, threatened, beaten and humiliated: this is what happened to a Christian family in Pakistan, attacked by some Muslims, who own a brick factory. The attackers wanted to “punish” Rafique Masih, a 50 year old father, for trying to defend his daughters, harassed by the constant taunts of Muhammad Umai and Muhammad Zubair, nephews of the owner of the factory.
“This inhuman act – Rafique Masih tells AsiaNews – happened because we are poor and we had requested a loan of 70 thousand rupees (770 dollars) from the owners of the brick factory. They think that poor Christians do not deserve respect and that therefore they can do whatever they want. I may not be rich, but I will fight for justice and for the respect and the dignity of my family. ”
Rafique and his wife have seven children, four girls and three boys. After his eldest daughter, Iram, 17, was yet again verbally harassed on July 10 last, the father went to tell the two young men not to bother his daughters anymore. In response, Muslims began to verbally abuse him, insulting him and his family and threatening to “teach him a lesson.”
After the argument the Christian returned home, but the same evening Muhammad Umai and Muhammad Zubair appeared at his door looking to continue the argument. Mehboob Masih, 23, one of the sons opened the door, refusing to call his father. At that point the two burst into the house armed with wooden sticks and bricks and began to beat the boy and his father, who came to see what was happening.
The attackers wounded Rafique’s head and broke his arm. Then they slapped and insulted his daughters, trying to drag them into the street to humiliate them. Only the intervention of some neighbors made them desist. At that point, the Muslims held the Christians in their own home, threatening to crush anyone who rushed to their aid and preventing the family from receiving medical treatment.
A few days later, on July 13, some relatives were able to rescue the family with the help of the Justice and Peace Commission (Ncjp), which has been providing medical care and assistance. However, the culprits are still at large.