Following the call of God to build a church in the city of Sahiwal and unite the local worshiping community under one roof, Azeem Masih who was called by God for this mission was attacked by the Muslim community in Pakistan.
Before the conflict began last summer,, Azeem, his family and all the local Christian Association attended separate house churches within the community. It was during this time Azeem felt called by God to donate some of his land to the local faith community to build a church in the city of Sahiwal.
According to the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA),the Muslim Community heard about the plan and became furious after which they pressured the local authorities to take action.
So the local authorities halted the construction process claiming that the Christian Community failed to attain the correct planning permission.
It was after this Azeem decided to build his own house on the plot of land which stirred up the Muslims again accusing him of building a church despite strict orders from the District Commissioner.
However ,the two groups were arrested on previous occasion by the local police which made the Muslim community ramped up its aggression and ended up surrounding the small Christian enclave, taunting the families to come out of their houses.
A witness named Wilson Raza told BPCA that the Muslim community tagged them as “Chura” (dirty cleaners). The witness also said they made threats to rape their women right before them.
“We pleaded with the men to leave us alone but they seemed intent on violence. The women were screaming and we all began to pray seeking God’s intervention to save us all.” He said.
As the Christians came out of their homes, Azeem and his brother Sajid were shot in the head while Radar Masihwas thrown an axe where he sustained severe injuries on his leg.
At the arrival of the police, one of the Muslim men shot his friend in the leg to make it look like a battle had ensued between the two parties and they escaped the evaded arrest while the injured Christians were rushed to hospital.
The injured men were treated immediately and were discharged except Azeem Masih who suffered more severe injury on the head. BPCA noted.
It was so shocking that the police is yet to take up the case after the father of the victims reported the incident to them. BPCA added.
“Despite guns being used, a man left critically ill in hospital and a beleaguered Christian community still receiving threats including fear all the young women will be kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriage – local police seem to be doing nothing to progress the case,” the group noted.
Raza in his statement said that the Muslim villagers who are against them were powerful politically and financially and that they have little hope for justice since they are hated Christians. “This attack has left us devastated and fearful that many of us have decided whether or not to leave our community where our ancestors have been since the partition of India. He said.
Raza said that it was “heartbreaking that the simple act of building a church can cause enough offense to Muslims to lead to such violence.”
“This hatred is so deep there is little hope for our future generations,” he added. “Even then we trust God.”