Christian Youth Brutally Killed After Abduction in Pakistan

22-year-old, Christian boy Sharash Masih was brutally killed after being abducted. Deceased was resident of Itokke Awan village of Bata Pur, District Lahore. In this regard, an FIR was registered at the Bata Pur Police Station.

Sharash Masih son of Arif Masih was subjected to inhumane torture, before being killed. His dead body was found from a local canal. On May 17, Sharash received a phone call after which he left home at around 9 p.m. He went missing since then and for about four days there was no information about him. His brother Asif Masih reported the incident at the local police station, so an FIR was filed.

After four days, his dead body was found from a local canal. Reports emerged that Sharash was subjected to inhumane torture. His nails were pulled out, his body was burnt. There were bruises all over his body. After his body was found, police was able to trace his family with the help of the mobile phone in his pocket. Thus far, there is no suspect in this case, while the FIR was lodged against unknown culprits.

Forced Conversions Rampant In Sindh Pakistan

Minorities living in Pakistan are exposed to various forms of persecution. This persecution, in most instances, finds its root in religious bigotry. A report, portrays a dire situation for Hindus living in Sindh province of Pakistan. Minorities are subjected to the menace of forced conversions, in particular the Hindus.

A report chalked out by the Unrepresented Nations and People Organizations (UNPO), forced conversions are rampant in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The report stated, “As intolerance towards religious minorities grows in Pakistan, so does the practice of forced conversions. As indicated by the former vice-chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Amarnath Motumal, 20 or more Hindu girls are abducted and converted every month in Pakistan, although exact figures are arduous to obtain. The most vulnerable areas for forced conversions in Sindh are the Thar region (Umerkot, Tharparkar and Mirpur Khas districts), Sanghar, Ghotki, and Jacobabad.”

Further divulging the menace, it was stated: “While there are different methods used to force people to convert, two common forms in Pakistan are bonded labour and forced marriage. Most bonded labourers in Sindh belong to the Hindu minorities, mainly belonging to the Scheduled Castes.”

Pointing fingers at the fact, it was cleared that the Hindus in Sindh are badly off to the extent of becoming susceptible to violence of any kind. “Sindhi Hindu minority’s susceptibility to forced conversions is related, among other factors, to social and economic vulnerability, such as poverty and social alienation. Minorities lack proper space in education, jobs and community life.”

In this regard, an attempt was made in 2015, a bill against forced religious conversions was tabled in Sindh Assembly. In November, 2016 the Sindh Assembly unanimously passed this bill but it was not ratified by the then Governor of Sindh Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui. He succumbed to the pressure exerted by the local influential and Islamic groups to prevent the bill from being legislated. As a consequence, the bill is still on hold.


Pakistani Hindu Cricketer Shamed For Speaking Against Forced Conversions

Pakistani Cricketer Danish Kaneria, who hails from Hindu community, is being shammed by public for he spoke against the menace of forced conversions in the country. He was asked to remain silent on the issue.

Earlier on April 29, Danish Kaneria levelled serious allegations against Pakistani Cricket star Shahid Afridi, saying, that he was treated badly by Shahid Afridi. He further said that Shahid Afridi forced him to convert to Islam. He said that the cricket board’s authorities did not pay a heed to his pleas. While opening up in this matter, former Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria has revealed that he has been bombarded with threats to leave the country or remain silent about the menace of forced conversions. In a tweet, he said, said, “When I raised my voice against forced conversion, I was threatened that my career would be destroyed.” Within minutes, Pakistanis descended on his Twitter timeline and accused him of lying and defaming Pakistan.” He said that he was asked to leave the country and settle in India. He further claimed that one twitter user tried to intimidate his saying, “Instead of highlighting the privileges being given to Hindu and Other Non-Mulsim communities, you are making false comments.” Humiliating tweets were hurled at him. Some of them even using derogatory language. In Pakistan, the minorities are facing various forms of religion based persecution. Forced conversions is just one of those heinous forms that has entangled minorities especially Hindus and Christians. Hindu and Christian girls are abducted later, forced to convert and married to Muslim men manly of greater age than the victims.

In Iran Two Women Put Behind The Bars Over Involvement In Church Activities

Two Iranian Christian women face imprisonment over involvement in church activities. Two-year imprisonment sentences have begun, for Fariba Dalir and Sakine (Mehri) Behjati. Both of them are converts, and are facing mounting aggression as converts are not recognized by the state as Christians.

In keeping with details, Fariba is serving her imprisonment sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in the Iranian capital Tehran, while Sakine is imprisoned in Lakan Prison which is in Rasht a city in North. Fariba was booked by the police in July 2021, along with five other Christians. They were sentenced in December last year, however, in the end only Fariba is imprisoned for two years while the rest of them were handed a ten-months imprisonment. Fariba was convicted of ‘acting against national security’ by establishing and leading an Evangelical Christian church.

Mehri Behjati, the other Christian convert serving imprisonment sentence was among a different group of four Christian converts who were rounded up in February 2020. They were arrested because of their involvement in a house church in Rasht. They were convicted of ‘acting against national security’ and ‘spreading Zionist Christianity’ and were awarded two and five years in prison. Mehri Behjati was handed a two-year imprisonment sentence. She filed an appeal against the decision which was turned down by Iran’s Supreme Court.

In First Few Months Of 2022, 127 Cases Of Anti-Christians Violence In India Reported

First few months of 2022, has witnessed at least 127 episodes of religion based violence against Christians in India. The United Christian Forum (UCF), based in Indian Capital has confirmed that in the first 103 days of this year 127 cases of religion based persecution against Indian Christians were reported.

In a note sent to Fides, it was reported that the above mentioned cases were reported on the toll-free number that was made available for the public. A.C. Michael, national coordinator of UCF, stated, “The persecution of Christians in India is escalating, leading to systematic and carefully orchestrated violence against Christians, also through the use of social media, used to spread disinformation and foment hatred.” He said that 502 episodes of anti-Christian violence were reported last year.

The report further divulged that in January 2022, 40 incidents of anti-Christians violence were reported. In February, 35 incidents were reported while in March, 34 cases were reported. Rest of the cases, were reported in April. There were 89 Pastors or parish priests who were beaten up and threatened to stop  conducting prayer services. The data portrays a dire situation, as there were as many as 68 cases of attacks on churches. Consequently, 367 Christian women and 366 children were injured in these cases.  Out of these 127 cases, there were 82 cases of mass violence involving agitated mob of radicals.

There are 42 cases of religion based violence pending in various courts. Despite the fact that the provision titled “Freedom of Religion Act,” is present in various Indian states, there are sporadic incidents of anti-Christians violence. On the other hand, this act is being highly misused as a basis for accusing the pastors and missionaries of “forced conversions.”

There Are No Christians In Afghanistan, says Taliban Spokesman

Taliban claim that there are no Christians in Afghanistan. The Taliban spokesperson Inamullah Samangani, told Voice Of America.

“There are no Christians in Afghanistan. Christian minority has never been known or registered here,” said the spokesperson. This statement, has met with deep concerns amid fears of rising religion based persecution. The spokerperson further denying the existence of Christians in Afghanistan stated that, “There are only Sikh and Hindu religious minority in Afghanistan that are completely free and safe to practice their religion.” Unfortunately, there is no official data available about the Christian population in Afghanistan. International Christian Concern estimates that there are 10,000 to 12,000 Christian converts in the densely-Islamic country. Recent statement has alarmed the rights groups as there are still thousands of Christians in Afghanistan, who are living under the looming threat of Taliban. “Christians face extreme persecution wherever they are in Afghanistan. Control and supervision are stricter in rural areas than in most cities, but Afghans are expected to be loyal to clan, family and Islam across the country,” Open Doors, a persecution watchdog has placed Afghanistan under “Extreme Level” of persecution. “Our organization has rescued 14 Christian families from Afghanistan,” Farrukh Saif, director of the Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved (ECSPE), said in a statement. He further added that the statement of the Taliban spokesman was completely Untrue. There are still 100s Afghan Christians hiding in different parts of Afghanistan and we are in touch with most of the families. Our organization is working to save them from the clutches of this hardline Islamist group. In a report, United States Centre International Religious Freedom said, “Reports indicate that the Taliban continue to persecute religious minorities and punish residents in areas under their control in accordance with their extreme interpretation of Islamic law.” Accounts of Christian converts facing extreme level of persecution have surfaced. In this matter, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called on the U.S. State Department to designate Afghanistan a “country of particular concern.” If Afghanistan is designated as a country of particular interest, further financial and travel sanctions will be struck against Taliban officials.

35-yr-old Ahmadiyya Brutally Killed Over Faith

Religious fanatic kills a man hailing from the Ahmadi community in Okara District of Pakistan. Police confirms that 35-year-old Adbul Salam was brutally stabbed to death on the grounds of his faith.

A local police officer Muhammad Saddique told news outlet that Hafiz Ali Raza killed Abdul Salam. “When Salam was returning from his agricultural land, Raza attacked him with a knife. Salam died on the spot with multiple wounds on his body. Raza managed to flee after raising religious slogans,” the officer said. A case was registered, under murder and terrorism charges against Hafiz Ali Raza. The police officer detailed that the suspect was booked under Anti-Terrorism Act and was a student of seminary and there was no apparent reason of the murder except for his faith. Zafar Iqbal uncle of Abdul Salam has told the police that Hafiz Ali Raza had killed his nephew “for his religious hatred against Ahmadis”. He further said that Abdul Salam had no enmity with anyone. Pointing fingers at a local religious outfit, he said that the group Raza adheres to promotes religious hatred in the area. “After the incident, the Ahmadi families living in the Okara district are feeling highly insecure,” he said. Tweeting, spokesperson of Jamaat Ahmadiya Pakistan, Saleemuddin  said, “Attacks on Ahmadis are increasing with every passing day. It is becoming more difficult for Ahmadis to do even basic things like running their business or going to their work. The government is not interested in curtailing hate speech or apprehending those behind this violence.” Harking back to country’s history, in 1974, Pakistan’s Parliament declared Ahmadi community as non-Muslims. Later, they were prohibited from calling themselves Muslims. Later bans like preaching and travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage were struck. Ahmadi community have been targeted sporadically.

“Christian Lives Matter” Family Of Two Murdered Christian Youths Protest

Family members of two Christian boys who were shot dead by local influential people, staged a protest demanding justice and protection. The family was joined by local Christian community as well. Details emerged that on May 5, Rajish Bhatti and Naqash Bhatti were shot dead by two boys hailing from a local influential family. This protest was staged outside the Saddar police station in Wah.  The protestors were carrying placards with slogans like:

‘Christians lives matters’, ‘Maseehi Aqlieeat ko Insaf Do’, ‘Save Christians in Pakistan’, ‘We Want Justice’ and ‘We Need Peace in Wah Cantt’.

The family of the deceased claimed that they are forced to live in fear. The family of the murderers is influential in the area. “We are living under threat and fear as the suspect is influential and still at large,” they said. They said that they had been striving to get justice. Police have not arrested the alleged murderers despite the fact that a video of this incident has been provided. Police asserted that an FIR was registered invoking sections 324 and 34 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). It was said that suspects are on interim bail for that reason they have not been arrested so far. The police assured the protestors that swift action will be taken into this case and protection will be provided to the affected family. The mob was thus peacefully, dispersed.

Gunmen Shot Dead Two Sikhs in Peshawar Pakistan

Gunmen have shot two Sikh businessmen dead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital Peshawar. The incident unfolded on Sunday, May 15. This comes as a latest episode in a series of targeted attacks on minority communities.

The deceased have been identified as 42-year-old Kanwaljeet Singh and 38-year-old Ranjeet Singh. Police details that the assailants were riding a motorbike and they opened fire at the victims in Bata Tal bazaar of Sarband, area of Peshawar. The victims died on the spot, as the bike-borne assailants fled from the scene. Kanwaljeet and Ranjeet were associated with spice business and ran shops in the Bata Tal bazaar in Sarband. A case has been registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department. “The incident appears to be a terrorist attack. The CCTV footage will be acquired and the suspects will be arrested soon,” Aqiq Hussain Saddar Superintendent of Police told national television channel. As soon as the news of this heinous incident spread agitated Sikh protestors staged a protest on the Peshawar-Islamabad road in front of Qila Bala Hissar and expressed their deep anguish and grief over the killings. They held placards against the brutal killings and raising slogans – “Stop target killings”, “We want justice.” Pakistani Premier, Mian Shehbaz Sharif has strongly condemned the incident. “Strongly condemn the killing of our Sikh citizens in Peshawar, KP. Pakistan belongs to all its people. Have ordered a high level inquiry to ascertain facts. The killers will be arrested & meted out exemplary punishment. My most sincere sympathies to the bereaved families,” he tweeted. The Premier had ordered a high level inquiry into this case while directed the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan to ensure prompt action in the matter and to arrest and punish the culprits. The PM further directed the CM to take effective steps in order to provide safety to the religious communities nestled in the province.

Nigeria Is One Of The Scariest Places To Be A Christian, Open Doors Claims

The first three months of this year saw at least 896 killings of civilians in Nigeria. Open Doors a persecution watch dog reports that this number includes hundreds of Christians, who had been killed because of their faith.

A Nigeria based research firm SBM Intelligence, blames the attacks on terrorist outfits namely Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), Fulani herdsmen and other violent groups. Open Doors claim that most Christians are killed in Nigeria because of their religion than rest of the world. Illia Djadi, said “Nigeria is currently one of the scariest places to be a Christian.”  Illia Djadi is Open Door’s analyst for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Christians reside mostly in Sothern Nigeria. Christians make up about 46% of Nigeria’s total population of 215 million. Nigerian Christians are facing extreme and oftentimes, brutal. The attacks perpetrated by the Islamic terrorist groups mostly affect the Christians living in the Muslim majority area in North Nigeria. But the persecution is not spreading in the southern part of the country too.

Although the terrorist outfits target civilians but Christians are targeted specifically because of their faith. Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), have ardently expressed their desire to annihilate Christian population in Nigeria.