Thursday, September 20, 2018

ACN News -Pakistan Christian girl is thrown off roof for refusing to embrace Islam



BINISH PAUL is 18-years-old and a Christian. She attends public school in Pakistan. On Aug. 22, 2018, a young Muslim man, Taheer Abbas threw her from a second-story roof: he was angry that Binish had refused to marry him and convert to Islam.

The brutal act was another example of violence being used to force conversion, charged Binish Paul’s lawyer, Tabassum Yousaf.

Ms. Yousaf reported: “For months, Taheer had been putting pressure on Binish to convert to Islam. Over and over again, she refused. This culminated in the violent act, during which the young woman sustained severe fractures to her legs and spine.”

As is often the case in such incidents, this places the family of the young Christian woman in a difficult position. The parents turned to the local police, but the officers declined to file charges.

Moreover, the director of the hospital refused to issue the medical report necessary to document the injuries.

“They also received serious threats from the family of the perpetrator. If the case were not closed, then they would all be accused of blasphemy,” said Ms. Yousaf, who is Catholic.

The lawyer filed the charges directly with the court, the hospital was forced to provide a medical report. This made it possible to arrest Taheer Abbas two days after the crime.

Ms. Yousaf said: “When similar attacks happen in our Church community, the main problem is that the Christians in Pakistan often belong to the poorest social groups and are not aware of their rights. For example, hardly anyone knows that you can file charges with the courts.”

“The refusal of the police to open a case, together with threats from the relatives and friends of the perpetrators, ensure that many families do not even report the crimes they have suffered.”

As a result, there are many incidents of young Christian women being forced to convert that never become public knowledge.

“When I was studying law, I was also pressured by a young Muslim, a friend of mine. Fortunately, my family and my brothers protected me.”

“Young Christian women who come from simple circumstances, however, are powerless against their attackers,” said Ms. Yousaf.

She reported that each year 15 to 30 cases similar to that experienced by Binish occur in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi alone. In comparison, the number of times these incidents are reported to the police can be counted on one hand.

“Many people are afraid because the Muslim community threatens to rape or kill the women of these families,” said Ms. Yousaf.

“In Pakistan, it is difficult to receive justice if you are a member of a religious minority,” the lawyer added; the judges are under pressure from the political parties.

She continued: “They do not offer our brothers and sisters in faith adequate and fair legal assistance. Many members of minority groups are not even aware that they have the same rights as Muslims.”

“As a Catholic lawyer, I consider it important that they have access to more information in this area and receive legal assistance. I am rendering this service for God and my Church.”

—Marta Petrosillo


With picture of a Christian procession in Faisalabad, Pakistan (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

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Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

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