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
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.