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    » 04/18/2012, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Muslims strip Christian woman in Punjab because she "dressed up", shoot at her son

    Shafique Khokhar

    A family in Gojra is attacked by some Muslims because they like to "dress up". The mother is brutally beaten whilst her son is shot at, luckily without consequences. Police and the courts fail to apprehend the offenders. The local priest says that such violence is used to maintain people in "conditions of inferiority".

    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - A Christian woman was harassed, beaten and stripped in public by some Muslims belonging to the local land mafia because in her family people like to dress up too much. Her son almost suffered a worse fate. When he tried to help her, they fire at him but narrowly missed. As tragic as this is, it is typical of the violence and persecution Christians endure. More than a month after the incident, which occurred in mid-March, both police and the courts have not brought any redress or punished the offenders. "These thugs pursue their own interests," a local priest said; in so doing, they violate the rights of the "weakest elements in society."

    Shamin Bibi, a 42-year-old mother of five, works in a brick kiln. She is originally from Chak 179 G.B., in Gojra, a town in Toba Tek Singh District (Punjab), where several Christians died in an attack in 2009.

    During her brutal assault, her attackers badly beat her and ripped her clothes off. When her 22-year-old son Naqshaq Masih tried to intervene, they attacked him with bricks and shot at him. Luckily, they missed.

    Two Muslim landlords, brothers Sajid Ali and Abid Ashan, were responsible for the attack. They exert a mafia-style control over the area.  

    The reason for their action appears even more absurd than the action itself. They do not want Christians to "dress up", even on holidays or Sunday for Mass.

    As second-class subjects, not much better than animals, minority Christians are not allowed to wear elegant clothes. They can only dress rough garments. In the past, they have often been subject to mafia-styled threats and "warnings".  In fact, another of Shamin Bibi's sons had to flee to avoid being killed.

    On the day of the atatck, the Christian woman was at home alone with a daughter, and pleaded to the men to go away because there was no male member of the family present.

    Initially, police opened a first information report and arrested the offenders. However, a week later they were released after paying off the police.

    On Monday, Shamin Bibi filed a suit against her attackers, appearing before a district judge in Gojra. The latter however rejected her application. Her family plans to continue their battle for justice but their chances in court are slim.

    A resident in her town spoke to AsiaNews on condition of anonymity. "Landlords have no pity," he said. "They can only waste the wealth" their parents accumulated. They engage in violence and abuse the poor. "If the latter refuse to follow their orders, they are beaten." These people "walk around with guns and have no respect for Christians," he said.

    Fr Yaqub Yousaf, a parish priest in Gojra, agrees. "Social injustice and divisions are used by cruel landlords to protect their vested interests and maintain people on the margins of our society in conditions of inferiority."

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    See also

    11/05/2015 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Christian leader receives threats, told to “stop building churches or we will kill you”
    Since February, "unknown extremists" have threatened Javed David, of the ‘Hope for the Light Ministries’. Since 2013, he and his associates have been helping poor Christian communities build places of worship.

    09/12/2014 PAKISTAN
    Alishba Bibi, beaten and humiliated by a Muslim family, calls for a stop to "anti-Christian attacks"
    The 30-years-old mother of four children was brutally attacked by powerful local Muslims, dragged in the street, her clothes torn off. Police arrested and then released the accused, changing their initial report. The pre-bail hearing set for last Friday was postponed until today. Under protection, Alishba plans to fight the case for herself and the Christian community.

    24/10/2011 PAKISTAN
    Asia Bibi prays for freedom but judges are hostage of fundamentalists
    Ashiq Masih saw his wife in prison. She is frail but “high in spirit”. Prison guard is suspended for having “hot words” with Asia Bibi as prison security is tightened. The family continues to hope for her release, but judges are threatened by Muslim extremists. Pakistan mourns the death of Begum Nusrat Bhutto.

    16/11/2010 PAKISTAN
    Blasphemy law, a sword hanging over our heads
    Asia Bibi’s case is but the latest in a long series of tragedies due to the infamous law, which sows fear in people. The Church of Pakistan is a Church that suffers, but it has a prophetic role to play: “bring hope to an entire people”.

    22/12/2010 PAKISTAN
    Asia Bibi affair: Islamic parties set strike date for 24 December, same day as Christian march
    The High Court in Lahore could set date for Asia Bibi’s appeal against her death sentence for blasphemy as early as tomorrow. Islamic parties set up steering committee to stop amendments to the law, which has been a source of abuses. They also announce a strike for the same day as the Christian protest march.



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