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No Compulsion in Religion? Punjab, Convert to Islam or Die: The 20 Year Long Nightmare of a Christian Family

World  (tags: Pakistan, Muslims harass and try force Christian f )

- 1842 days ago -
Since the late 1980s Sadiq Masih Zafar and his family have been living under the constant threat of Islamist groups. In 1998, his daughter was kidnapped and seriously injured. Today her sister is being threatened with a similar fate. Despite reporting the

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Beth S (330)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 2:18 pm
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - For more than 20 years, a Pakistani Christian family has been living in a constant state of fear, the victim of threats from extremist groups and under constant pressure from the radical fringe to convert to Islam. A tragic story in a country increasingly hostage to the Islamists, in which young people prefer Sharia law and the military to the democratic model proposed by the West and branded as "corrupt." In recent times, threats and pressures against the Zafar family have increased. And the father has been forced to lock one of his daughters indoors for fear she will become a victim of kidnapping, as was the case in 1998 when her older sister was abducted and subjected to torture.

Sadiq Masih Zafar, born in Muridke, a town in the district of Shaikhupur, in the province of Punjab, was appointed to oversee the construction of a church between 1988 and 1989, by the Lahore Church Council that had previously purchased the land. Since then Islamic extremist groups have showered him with threats and injunctions, ordered him to stop building places of worship and convert - with his family members - to Islam.

In 1990, a raid of fanatics led to the demolition of the structure and the confiscation of the land. In the context of the assault, the Islamists also violently attacked Zafar and some relativesHis reporting of the incident to police proved futile, who closed the case without proceeding to any investigation. A similar result, a few months later, when the man filed a complaint against the daily threats of fundamentalists who want him to convert to Islam.

In 1998, Zafar's daughter, Sarwat Naheed was kidnapped while returning home and subjected to violence and torture that resulted in the breaking of her legs and deep wounds to the head. The girl also had signs of strangulation and was found abandoned and unconscious in a field. A few days later his son Azeem Zafar was stopped by a group of people, who beat him up.

These two incidents prompted the Zafar family to flee to Lahore, in search of a quiet place. However the extremists hunted them down, and discovering their new home, continued to threaten them with death. On 27 March 2004 the threats became facts: masked men burst into the house and took the family members hostage, threatening them with death. The raid ended with no casualties or injuries, but even this time the police refused to open an investigation.

After a few years of relative calm, the nightmare of the extremist threat returned to haunt the Zafar family, forcing the father to isolate his daughter Asma Tosheeba at home for fear that she too could be kidnapped by criminals and suffer the same violence as her brother and sister. Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr. Suleman John, priest and activist in Lahore, appeals to the authorities to protect the safety of the family. "It's a very serious case - says the priest - and result of religious intolerance. Extremists do what they want, knowing they will go unpunished. Punjab remains the epicenter of sectarian persecution."

Jennifer Ward (40)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 6:49 pm
Dreadful state of affairs that we in the West cannot comprehend. Whatever happened to 'love thy neighbor'?
Treasure and defend our freedoms folks, they are in danger.

Judith Hand (55)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 8:30 pm
Noted. This is simply horrific. No ifs ands or buts.

Nancy Black (308)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 9:17 pm
Noted, tweeted, shared. Is there no way that this family could go back from where they started? Maybe diplomatic channels could be used. It is sad and sick that the young people would choose Sharia Law over democracy.

Jay S (116)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 12:39 am
Anyone who's studied Islam knows about abrogation - the cancelling out of early verses by later more hateful and intolerant ones, and the 'no compulsion in religion' one was cancelled by several later intolerant ones like:

Qur'an (9:5) "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them..." So kill non-Muslims unless they convert...

Surahs 5 and 9 were the last two written by Mohammed (the Qur'an is not written in chronological order in today's version), so they cancel anything earlier.

Jay S (116)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 12:41 am
These aren't 'Islamist extremists' - they are Orthodox true believing Muslims following the example and commands of their prophet to the letter. And the courts usually back them up in these evil deeds.

Where is the outrage? Certainly not here on Care2, sadly.

Carola May (20)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 12:42 am
Where is the outrage, indeed?

Gene J (290)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 6:20 am
"Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr. Suleman John, priest and activist in Lahore, appeals to the authorities to protect the safety of the family. "It's a very serious case - says the priest - and result of religious intolerance. Extremists do what they want, knowing they will go unpunished. Punjab remains the epicenter of sectarian persecution."

When might we expect the new Pope to speak out on these issues? Punjab is the tip of the iceberg, not the epicenter, there are far worse places in Pakistan, in every sharia governed country. We only see the tip but as with all icebergs, the largest part, the most dangerous part, is the 90% we can't see.

. (0)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 9:53 am
So much for the religion of peace and tolerance banner. Every time I see one of these reports I am reminded that much of humanity isn't that far removed from the trees.

Caroline S (78)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 10:49 am
I agree with Nancy B. : it is so sad and sick that the young people would choose Sharia Law over democracy.
It's horrific

Past Member (0)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 12:27 pm
While i don't say Beth is being false about anything, i do question her bias. She has written quite a few articles about Muslims, and they all condemn Muslims, and she is always pro-Israel.

Birgit W (160)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 1:04 pm
If we had no religions on this planet the world would be a better place.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 1:46 pm
Phyllis you are right our freedom is in danger throughout the world Islam is creeping up on us by stealth and the leaders expect everyone to take no notice as its love thy neighbour and get on with all Funny how the only ones
that no one can seem to get on with is the muslims because they actually are the ones that do not want to get on with anyone else You dont have to be religious you can be an atheist but if you are not a muslim thats good enough to be shunned Everyone other than a muslim is an infidel and we are not worthy


Patricia Martin (19)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 1:55 pm
Great point, Robert! Obviously if Beth writes stories about Islam being bad and Israel being good, and we know Islam is a religion of peace and a source of goodness in the world, and Israel can't do anything good, she must be very biased. I just can't stand people who are biased!

Charlene Rush (79)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 2:28 pm
It bewilders me, to comprehend why people permit themselves to become martyrs. If he continues with his perceived directive, his whole family could lose their lives. If he thinks this accomplishes his goal, he's foolish. The idea that you must proselytize in what 'you' believe, benefits the proselytizer, NOT.

This is similar to what Islamic extremists are trying to do to Sadiq Masih Zafar and his family. Can't he see that he is trying to do the same thing. Of course, the difference is clear. He is trying to persuade and the extremists are trying to force. No one debates that.

This is and always has been, about POWER & CONTROL

Joy Catalan (95)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 5:48 pm
freedom of religion is one basic human right...what can't these people (Islam) understand from this statement?...Punjab is a small place so to speak, yet, this kind of atrocity exists because of a choice in religion and authority in this place play deaf and blind...

Patsy Olive (0)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 6:09 pm
I am confused about this if they are Catholic why doesn't the Pope get off his duff and help these poor people

Stan B (123)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 8:44 pm
Forced conversions and the execution of apostates is the only way this cult can stay in business.
Thanks Beth.

Craig Zimmerman (86)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 9:22 pm
Ity's the same story in nearly every country dominated by Muslims.

Craig Zimmerman (86)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 9:23 pm

bob m (32)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 10:41 pm

Stan..As to Rome.. they seem to be struggling mightily with their closet alter ego illigitimate offspring gone astray from the magistere.. from the assassins conclave ....mary ..Queen of heaven indeed.. .. this is perhaps truely the beginning ..of the end... Maranatha...The last pope rebuked islam ..then kissedup (under pressure no doubt)..I believe he knew too much or was not going to follow the Jesuit way.. now ..he is "kept" in isolation.. while a jesuit pope carries the union dictates forward.. chrislam...anyone?

Klaus Peters (14)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 11:00 pm
Muslims don't only hate people with different beliefs, the good thing is that the various Islamic factions hate each other just as bad.

Ellen G (0)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 6:48 am
At least they are open about what they do. Here in the USA we have fanatics who are backed by the fringe lunatics who try and sometimes succeed in passing laws that injure the rest of us in order to force the rest of us to follow their beliefs. They try to prevent women from using birth control or have abortions even if in some cases their lives are endangered due to pregnancy. It is all the same when you take an objective look at it, only if it is someone else doing it people consider them evil, when they do it they are "serving god" but the bottom line is they all want to force the rest of us do live as they think we should.

Alexander Werner (53)
Friday April 12, 2013, 3:45 pm
Just another sad story about suffering of Christians in Islamists hands.

Past Member (0)
Saturday April 13, 2013, 1:40 pm
Sadly, the human mind has evolved to a point capable of fabricating fantasies, but not far enough to see the folly.

Gloria H (88)
Saturday April 13, 2013, 6:34 pm
sorta like when Jews and non Christians, pagans and indigenous peoples were murdered, tortured by "Christians" centuries ago if they didnt convert. Humans are something else aren't we

Beth S (330)
Saturday April 13, 2013, 8:28 pm
That was a long, sordid phase of a good part of Christianity, although Christianity doesn't preach killing people who won't convert.

Islam does, however, and because it is a core tenet in the Qur'an and Hadiths, it has been going on since its inception and continues to do so and will continue to do so.

Now we need humans who see that this incredibly dangerous, inhumane, fascist movement can stand up for all the people that islam is destroying now and do something besides make smug comments.

Stand up for freedom, or your life will be destroyed by Islam wanting to take yours away.

Educate yourself.

Lee Hampton (15)
Saturday April 13, 2013, 8:39 pm
YEAH, Robert O.

How dare those Israelis do so many good things and Beth tell us about them! What nerve!

Sergio Padilla (65)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 9:22 am

Rehana VN (0)
Sunday October 27, 2013, 4:00 am
Thuggery knows no boundary , it ignores religious, cultural & all other aspects of social norms. These are a bunch of hooligans & bullies committing crimes & just bcos they are Muslims does not mean that the religion of Islam is promoting such abhorrent & despicable behaviour. These morons must be arrested & punished, however,the likelihood of this ever happening is zero as the Pakistani government is so useless!

Beth S (330)
Sunday October 27, 2013, 8:32 am
Rehanam, while I think it's true in a lot of ways that thuggery knows no boundaries, with Islam in particular, the thuggery is a religious imperative, derived from the Qur'an and the Hadith -- the examples from Muhammad's life.

Islam does not give to respect to any other religion. It aims to conquer ALL non-Muslims and either make them live under Sharia or kill them if they don't submit.

This is the actual meaning of the word, "Islam", it means SUBMISSION. And these guys don't kid around.

Absolutely agree that they should be arrested, but even though Pakistan is a "democracy" on paper, its government and police forces actively collude with the Islamists and other Muslims criminals and looks the other way while crowds lynch or actually take up the Muslims' cause.

This is true is most Islamic countries.
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