By Summer Liampetchakul
Accidentally struck but not injured by a Christian on a motorbike, a Pakistani Muslim man whipped up a frenzied mob to attack all Christians living in the village of Khusa near Faisalabad last month.
The motorcyclist was 22-year-old Adnan Masih, who failed to negotiate a turn and accidentally hit the Muslim man, according to The Clarion Project.
Uninjured, the man got up and began to beat the boy, who was begging for forgiveness and managed to run away.
The victim of the accident then turned into victimizer. He called his friends, neighbors and relatives who soon became an enraged mob that headed en mass to the hovels where the Christians live.
Seeing a furious mob approaching, many Christians fled. But some did not, especially a number of women, who suffered a brutal beating and sustained “horrific” injuries, according to The Clarion Project.
Meanwhile, the Christians begged for their lives. In response, the Muslim aggressors shouted death threats and warned all Christian residents to pick up their belongings and leave the area once and for all.
During the attack, one member of the Christian community managed to contact Robin Daniel, a Christian leader and chairman of the National Minority Alliance of Pakistan based in Faisalabad, who rushed to the scene with a team of helpers. He took all injured to a nearby hospital, where at least four were given medical treatment, news accounts said. Adnan himself suffered fractures and received 16 stitches.
Then with ample documentation of the aggression and the injuries, Daniel attempted to file a police report, but the local cops refused to even receive the report, the Clarion Project said. A persecuted minority in Pakistan, Christians say it is common for police to ignore attacks against their community when it originates from Muslims. The perpetrators are friends and power figures in the city who pressure and cajole police into not doing their job, they say.
But Asia News reported that two weeks after the incident, the Muslim and Christian communities had negotiated a reconciliation.
“This is the first time in the history of the city that 60 Muslims apologized in public for their violent acts and promised not to offend verbally Christians living peacefully,” Daniel told Asia News. “I thank all the Christian leaders who supported us on this path of reconciliation.”
But Christians still fear future attacks unless they move.
Faisalabad is the third most populous city of the Punjab province. Christian missionaries established several villages in the vicinity of the city but now, because of persecution, thousands of Christians who once made it their home have abandoned the area.
Those that remain live in the village next to Faisalabad, where this incident occurred. Most subsist doing manual labor.
Since the beginning of 2016, an onslaught of persecution has been unleashed against Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan, and authorities appear disinterested in arresting perpetrators and safeguarding the rights of victims, the Clarion Project alleged.
Summer Liampetchakul is a sophomore at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica