Saturday, August 01, 2020

ACN-USA News - Pakistan Christian man is murdered for living in a Muslim neighborhood

LAST MONTH’S MURDER of a Christian in Pakistan has increased the fear among Christians throughout the country. Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, there has been an increase in cases of religion-based violence and discrimination against Christians in the country. The recent death of Nadeem Joseph has prompted numerous protests among Christians in the country, with some comparing it to the case of George Floyd in the United States.


“It is terrible. I know Nadeem’s family well, because it is one of those that survived the terrorist attack on the church of All Saints in 2013, when other members of his extended family were killed,” said Qamar Rafiq, a friend of the family. He was speaking to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).


“This new attack on his family highlights the vulnerability of Christians in Pakistan and the ease with which they can be attacked.”


“In May this year Nadeem bought a house in TV Colony in Swati Gate, in Peshawar, where he lived with his two children, his wife and his mother-in-law. Nadeem’s family was repeatedly harassed and threatened by Salman K., a Muslim neighbor, who tried to force him to leave the area and move elsewhere, since this place was “not for filthy Christians,” Rafiq said.


“On June 4 Salman and his sons once again threatened Nadeem’s family, ordering them to leave the district in the next 24 hours or be ready to face the grave consequences of having moved into a Muslim neighborhood,” Rafiq told ACN. Nadeem immediately informed the police of these repeated threats, but before they arrived, Salman K. opened fire on Nadeem, who was struck by three bullets. He also shot at two other members of his family, who had hurried to his assistance.


“The neighbors, on hearing the shots, shut their doors and none of them came to the aid of the wounded men or attempted to call the emergency services,” Rafiq added. After several surgeries, Nadeem died from his injuries June 29.


In a communiqué published by the National Justice and Peace Commission, Bishop Joseph Arshad, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, called on the forces of law and order to do everything possible to bring to justice the killer of this Christian man.


“This case is a clear violation of human rights, and an unlawful act, so it cannot be allowed to go unpunished,” said the statement, which also called on the government to protect Nadeem’s family, whose lives are still in danger.


Joel Amir Sahotra, a former member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab and a Christian community leader, told ACN that “religious discrimination against the minorities is sadly very common in Pakistan,” adding that “people are unwilling to rent out properties to non-Muslims.”


In fact, frequently “they even tell them openly that non-Muslims cannot make their homes there.”


“It’s like the Stone Age,” Sahotra charged. “What kind of mentality is this? I really have no answer for it. I don’t know if people in the West can understand what a difficult situation we have to face here on account of our faith.”


—Maria Lozano



With picture of poster showing Jadeem Joseph (© Samson Salamat)



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 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.