Pakistan: Muslims enjoy impunity for murder and rape of Christians
In Pakistan, a 22-year-old Christian man was killed by a Muslim. Of humble origins, the young man – named Haroon – was working in the home of middle-class Muslim family in Lahore. Working alongside Umer Farooq – a young Muslim – Haroon was subjected to constant badgering and threats. Farooq repeatedly demanded that Haroon convert to Islam. Farooq told Haroon that "embracing Islam is beautiful" and would allow the young Christian domestic to live in "luxury and would marry a rich Muslim woman."Haroon continued to resist, refusing to abandon his Christian faith.
On April 16, Farooq began to talk of religion again and pressure Haroon about his faith. When Haroon said he was "a true follower of Jesus Christ," Farooq became aggressive and opened fire on Haroon, killing him with a bullet to the head. He then cried out that Haroon had committed suicide.
Haroon’s family has called upon the police to investigate. However, because a suicide remained a plausibel cause of death, police did not quickly take the initial steps for investigating the incident as a murder have yet to be taken. Local Christians have staged a protest in front of the local police station. Farooq is in custody and his case is still under investigation.
Nasir Saeed, director of the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement, which has offices in the UK and Pakistan, condemned the murder. He said, "We read in a recent report that 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are forcibly converted to Islam every year. Cases in which young Christians are forced to convert are frequent and if they refuse, they are killed or involved in false cases of blasphemy. In these cases, justice must ensure individual freedom and punish the guilty: this is the only deterrent. There is widespread religious intolerance and hatred against minorities at the basis of these cases".
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