ISLAMABAD: Muslim men arrested over forcing Christian to convert to Islam.
Boota Masih, 43 years old Pakistani Christian states that he was beaten, harassed and thus forced into conversion to Islam by suspected members of a banned extremist group.
An international news agency quotes Boota Masih, “The assailants in an Islamabad suburb allegedly have links to a banned Islamic extremist group. The primary suspect, Muhammad Nadeem, and others approached a 43-year-old Christian, low-level government worker Boota Masih, on the night of October 4 in the Khokhar Town area of suburban Islamabad.”
“At around 9 p.m. my teenage nephews and I were standing in the street along with some Muslim neighbours when Nadeem and three of his accomplices approached us on two motorcycles. At that time we were discussing the recent terrorist attacks in Peshawar, including the one on a Church,” he continues.
“The visitors joined the conversation, which turned tense when Nadeem said Christians had altered the Bible over the years and that Christianity was “a distortion of facts. He then bluntly asked me to convert to Islam,” he said.
He added, “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.”
Witnesses say, “Masih told Nadeem that he wasn’t interested in discussing religion with him, and that he should stop unnecessarily criticizing Christianity. The other Muslims present there also objected to Nadeem’s provocative remarks and told him to leave us alone, but he refused to leave, threatening instead that they would make sure that all Christians ‘seek forgiveness’ and ’embrace Islam,’ or else they would have to face the consequences.”
Boota Masih said,” When Nadeem refused to back down in spite of several warnings, a scuffle broke out. Nadeem and two of his accomplices hit us with the butts of their handguns, besides punches and kicks, and waved their weapons in the air to prevent others from intervening.”
The attackers fled leaving him and his two young nephews lying on the road, severely injured and bleeding.
Boota Masih’s affliction did not stop here following day when he and his family were out shopping a neighbour informed him by a phone call telling him that,” Nadeem and two others had attacked his home.” “We rushed back to our house and saw that the door of the house was damaged. Nadeem and his accomplices had fired at the door, and bullet holes were also visible on the wall and façade of the house. I thanked God that none of us were present in the house when all of this happened, or else the loss would have been irreplaceable,” he said.
Deeply distressed Boota Masih said that he resolved to seek help from police and approached Shahzad Town Police Station to register a complain against Nadeem and two of his unidentified friends. Inspector Asjad Mahmood told,” Police investigated and registered a case against the assailants for forcible conversion under penal code sections 506, pertaining to criminal intimidation, and 298, (deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person). The accused admitted that they had forced Masih and his nephews to change their faith and also confessed to have attacked his house when they refused. Such incidents cannot be condoned, as no one can impose their belief on others.”
Consequently, the three alleged suspects who tried to force Boota Masih and his nephews to convert to Islam have been put behind the bars, as police have formed charges against them.