A 22-year-old Christian man was murdered in Pakistan April 16 for not converting to Islam. Only known as Haroon, the United Kingdom-based Center for Legal Aid and Settlement claims he recently started work at an Islamic center in Lahore as a sweeper, where he was mocked for his Christian faith by a Muslim co-worker.
Umer Farooq, a security guard at the center, promised Haroon a life of luxury and marriage to a rich Muslim woman if he would embrace Islam. Witnesses claim Haroon did not care about such things and refused to convert to Islam stating he was a follower of Jesus Christ.
Allegedly Farooq became angered and opened fire on Haroon, killing him instantly with a single gunshot to the head. CLAAS reports Farooq claims Haroon had attempted suicide.
“The situation endures because of the government inactions,” said Nasir Saeed, director of the Center for Legal Aid and Settlement in the UK (CLAAS). “If people involved in such crimes are brought to justice, then it can act as a deterrent, but instead they are being encouraged by local religious leaders, Imams and Madrasahs.”
Saeed believes such crimes are on the rise because of a growing intolerance and hate towards religious minorities.
“The government must ban religious discussion and forcing non-Muslims to convert to Islam must be considered a crime, otherwise minorities have no future in Pakistan,” said Saeed. “It is equally dangerous for the government as with the growing violation of human rights, Pakistan could be deprived of the benefits it is receiving from the international community, including Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status.”
While police have been slow to file charges, Saeed says Farooq must be found guilty of murder and punished accordingly so such atrocities will cease.
Publication date: April 21, 2014