Published: 00:00 GMT Standard Time - Friday 08 January 2010
Child Beaten for Claiming to be a Pakistani Christian
|Christians in Pakistan have reported the ordeal of an 11-year-old Christian school girl in the town of Dharema, Punjab province, in October 2009. Nadia Iftikhar was beaten unconscious by the Muslim teacher at her evening coaching school “Bright Future Academy” after she said she was both a Pakistani and a Christian.|
Nadia explained the circumstances:
“Our teacher was teaching us about the culture of Pakistan and Pakistani people and quoted a sentence from a text book saying ‘We are Pakistani and all of us are Muslims’. At this point I interrupted and said, ‘Madam, I am also a Pakistani, but not a Muslim. Instead I am a Christian.’”Reportedly, the teacher was enraged and began hitting Nadia with a bamboo until, said classmates, the girl briefly lost consciousness. As she beat her young pupil, the teacher is reported to have kept saying that all Pakistanis are Muslims and
“You are not a Pakistani but a Christian. Your homeland is somewhere in Europe or America.”
Nadia was taken home and later to the doctor. When interviewed by journalists on 11 October she was bed-ridden and her back was scarred. Nadia’s father, Iftikhar Masih, explained that he could not go to the police about the incident because
“I am an impoverished Christian man and am busy working for a daily wage to feed my family.”
Being poor and being a Christian are both serious disadvantages for anyone seeking justice from the Pakistani police.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, comments:
“Pakistan was created in 1947 as a homeland for South Asian Muslims, but from the very beginning it was recognised that non-Muslims were also part of Pakistan. Even the flag, with its narrow white stripe beside the main green background, depicts a non-Muslim minority alongside a Muslim majority. It is a perpetual struggle for Pakistani Christians to convince the rest of society that they love their homeland, Pakistan, just as much as Pakistani Muslims do. The myth that they are loyal to the West instead of to Pakistan must finally be laid to rest.”
- Pray for Nadia Iftikhar’s complete healing from her physical injuries and from the shock of her ordeal in October, and for arrangements for her future tuition.
- Pray for Nadia’s classmates, who saw the brutal attack on her, that they will be healed of their trauma.
- Pray for teacher Humaira Hassa, who reacted so violently to the concept of a Pakistani Christian, that her heart and mind will be changed. Pray that she will repent of the way she treated Nadia and that the school authorities will make clear that such behaviour from a teacher is completely unacceptable.