Another case from the aftermath of the Peshawar bombing, which saw a swathe of blasphemy accusations in it’s wake, alongside considerable solidarity from some parts of the Muslim community.
In Islamabad a Boota Masih, described as a 43 year old ‘low level government worker’ (most likely meaning a cleaner or sweeper) was discussing terrorist attacks including the Peshawar church suicide bombing with his three teenage nephews and some Muslim neighbours when a man called Nadeem, known locally as a ruffian pulled up with accomplices on motorbikes. They joined in the conversation, but then Nadeem started to repeat the usual Islamic claim that Christians had corrupted the bible over the years and that Christianity was ‘a distortion of facts’. He then demanded they convert to Islam, saying ‘Islam is the only true faith, and you must join us to fulfill Allah’s will. The West and Zionists are hatching conspiracies against Islam because they are scared of its rise and popularity in their countries … They know one day Allah will give the whole world in our control and every person will become a Muslim’.
Boota explained that he wasn’t interested in discussing religion, and that Nadeem should stop criticizing Christianity unnecessarily, and the Muslims around about also told Nadeem to leave the Christians alone, but he refused to leave and started to threaten Boota, saying that they would ensure that all Christians ‘seek forgiveness’ and ‘embrace Islam,’ or else they would have to face the ‘consequences’.
Despite warnings, Nadeem remained and started, with two accomplices, to beat, punch and kick Masih and his nephews, as well as beating them with the butts of their guns, which they also waved in the air to stop others intervening.
The day after Nadeem and company attacked their home while the family were out shopping, leaving bullet holes in the walls and door. The police arrested the three culprits, revealing that Nadeem was a drug addict. They have been charged under ‘forcible conversion laws’.
When Nadeem’s parents arrived at the court hearing, he verbally attacked them, saying not to worry because now he had devoted himself to Islam. It transpired that Nadeem had started picking fights with lots of Christian families, but this was the first time anyone had reported him to the police.