Forced conversion turns ugly in Pakistan

15 06 2009

This is not new in Pakistan and in fact, in the Muslim world. Forced conversions are a daily routine and many are not even reported. However, they get media attention only if the minorities refuse to convert. In the latest event, a Pakistani Christian man (they constitute more than 2% of Pakistani population) was murdered after he refused to accept Islam. It was not a typical murder but a mutilation preceded by rape.

Tariq “Litto” Mashi Ghauri (its actually ‘Masih’ meaning Jesus in Arabic) was slayed by Islamic fanatics after being gang raped. His only ‘crime’ was that he refused to accept Islam. Apparently, he fell in love with a Muslim girl and the couple was caught in some ‘private’ act (which according to conservative Muslim societies is nothing  more than holding hands). Now women have very little rights in Muslim societies and they are considered a property of their male family members.

When that poor guy refused to convert (which is his basic right as there is no forced conversion in Islam), he was kidnapped, raped and later murdered by the local gangsters. The police even refused to register a case and this is very common in Pakistan. Christians are considered at the lowest rung of society and are looked down upon. Torture, rape and killings are common and so are conversions.

A conversion of a slightly different kind is prevalent in Iran where the Sunni minority is threatened to convert to Shia faith or face state oppression. The plight of Baluchs in southern Iran is mainly because of that reason. Jews and Zoroastrians also face similar threats.

Copts face discrimination in Egypt and there is a huge repression of minorities in other Islamic countries as well. Malaysia, for example, has around 60% Muslim population but there are growing incidents where Hindus and Chinese were terrorized. There is a lot to be done in the Muslim world in this regard. We have to accept one fact that we are not good with the minorities, not at all.

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