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Multiple Violent Attacks Against Believers Reveal Just How Dangerous it is for Pakistani Christians

08-30-2018
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Two recent attacks against Christians in Pakistan emphasize the worsening conditions for believers in the predominately Muslim country.

One of those incidents occurred on August 2, when Vicky Masih, 35, was murdered on his wedding anniversary.

"It was the wedding anniversary of Vicky and his wife," an advocate Tariq Zia told International Christian Concern (ICC). "Vicky was asked by his Muslim friends to meet them at Muhammad Abbas' house and celebrate with them."

"Muhammad Ilyas, another one of Vicky's Muslim friends, had to pay back a handsome loan to Vicky," Zia continued. "When Vicky asked for his money back, Muhammad Ilyas abused Vicky and said that he will teach a lesson to the choora."

"Choora" is a derogatory term used against Christians.

"Within no time, the party turned into an exchanging of harsh words, a physical clash, and ended with Vicky's murder," Zia reported.

According to Asia News, Abbas opened fire on Vicky and left him to die. Local residents eventually took him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He left behind a wife and three young children.

Iftikhar Saleem, the victim's younger brother, told Asia News that the police arrested the killer only after public protest.

"The police are conniving with the perpetrators, who are part of rich criminal families," he said. "We want justice...We are poor and we do not have the strength to fight these thugs. We call upon all the people of God to help us and pray for the wife of Vicky and her three little children: now they are the most vulnerable and defenseless."

Just 16 days later, Alvin John and his family were brutally attacked in the Mehmoodabad neighborhood of Karach.

He told ICC that some of his Muslim neighbors repeatedly harassed his family because of their Christian faith.

"I shifted my family to this rented house about 10 months ago," John told ICC. "At first, we were asked to leave by some Muslim neighbors because of our Christian faith. But since Easter, we have been pressurized, threatened, and teased."

"My 19-year-old daughter Aresha then became the target," John explained. "They would follow my daughter in the streets and markets, offering her a bright and secure future if she converted, and often abused her for her Christian faith."

John did his best to protect his family and find another place stay, but he says they were attacked on August 18.

"A mob of Muslims, led by Muhammad Samad Zaheer, attacked me and my family," John said. "They damaged the left eye of my son, Vickram John. Initially, the doctors have no hope for his eyesight."

"The attackers also broke most of the house stuff, furniture, doors, and windows," he continued. "We cannot go back to the house as there is unrest in the neighborhood. We are now taking shelter with relatives."

Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world for Christians. It is especially dangerous for Christians who convert from Islam.

In May, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) cited Pakistan for its deteriorating human rights record.

"In 2017, religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, and Shi'a Muslims, continued to face attacks and discrimination from extremist groups and society at large," the commission stated in a report. "The government of Pakistan failed to protect these groups adequately, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations."

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