Christian Boy Was Set on Fire and Killed by Pakistani Muslims for His Faith in Jesus, Watchdog Group Confirms
Noman Masih, the 14-year-old Pakistani boy who was burned alive by a group of Muslim youths earlier in April and died from his injuries was targeted because he admitted that he was a Christian, watchdog group International Christian Concern has said.
The group shared Masih's own words from his hospital bed: "I have neither enemies, nor a dispute with anybody in the area I live. My tailor master asked me to go to the nearest market for some work and, on my way, [a] few men stopped me, asking my name and religion. I gave them my name and identified my religion as Christian. It was Friday prayers time and not many people [were] on the road."
The boy added: "Suddenly they started beating and abusing me. I tried to rescue myself, however, [I] couldn't. One of them threw kerosene oil and [the] other set me on fire. With the help of the locals around I managed to stop the fire, however, [I became] unconscious."
Masih suffered burns to 55 percent of his body, and despite the hospital's efforts he died from his injuries on Wednesday, April 15.
Christians are often targeted by lynch mobs in Pakistan, but also by the government's anti-blasphemy laws, which are designed to protect Islam but are often used by Muslims as a way to falsely accuse and arrest religious minorities.
Asif Masih, the boy's uncle, added in the ICC report that Christians have little hope in the South-Asian country.
"Being Christian [means] being persecuted daily in this country. This is no longer a country for human being[s] or for liv[ing] a dignified life. There is no protection and no rule of law," he said.
Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the The British Pakistani Christian Association, told The Chritian Post following Masih's death that the boy had issued "Christian forgiveness" to his attackers before he died.
"He just said that he forgave them. That's more like a Christian forgiveness, but he didn't want his attackers to prevail and enact their crimes on anybody else. He was just being very magnanimous in a Christian way saying, 'I have forgiven them but I want them to go through the justice system,'" Chowdhry told CP.
"You can imagine what it was like for him to have kerosene poured on him and being set alight," Chowdhry continued. "He was very vocal in the fact that he didn't want that to happen to anyone else, especially at the moment when Christians are under some very extreme tension."
Ataurehman Saman, a human rights defender and publications coordinator at the National Commission for Justice and Peace, added that the incident "speaks volumes about the lofty claims and statements of the officials regarding [the] protection of minorities in Pakistan."
Saman added that it "reflects the prevailing hatred for religious minorities that has been allowed to flourish in the society by design, through media, [hateful] sermons and textbooks."
He warned that other such attacks on Christians are likely to occur if the government does not take "affirmative, positive, productive and concrete steps to tailor the torn fabric of our society."