By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (Worthy News) – A Christian man is recovering from his injuries in Pakistan’s Punjab province after he was nearly killed by an angry crowd for “returning to Christianity” after he “accepted Islam” to marry a Muslim woman, Christians said.
Footage and a transcript obtained by Worthy News showed that the Christian, Sikander William, had had his hands tied behind him while bent on his knees in last month’s attack.
A large mob of Muslims watched as the perpetrator of the beatings to the Christian hit his back with a sandal as forcefully as possible, the footage showed.
The problems began when William, 19, “fell in love with young Muslim woman Mariyam, a neighbor who lived opposite his parental home in Allumahar Village. Mariyam felt the same,” said the British Asian Christian Association (BACA), an advocacy group.
Both wanted the marriage, but “to get married William had to imitate conversion to Islam, as no Christian pastor dared to marry a Christian man to a Muslim woman,” added BACA.
After villagers discovered their marriage and William’s later declared intention to remain faithful to Christ, local Muslims reacted furiously, several sources said.
“Later, the Muslim parents forced the relatives of William from his home and threatened to kill them if the family did not bring the couple to them,” added BACA, which supports the couple.
“After capturing the Christian man was beaten with a chappel sandal while his hands were tied behind his back. The beating was for reconverting to Christianity after his marriage,” the group told Worthy News.
Evidence exists that a sitting Pakistani legislature’s home was used as “a torture room” and that her husband was involved in the kidnapping and violence” of the couple, the BACA said.
“The small mob took the couple and Zafar in a van to the home of sitting Member of National Assembly Nosheen Zahir” in Allumahar, part of the city of Sialkot, the BACA explained.
“The crowd started beating and abusing Mr William.” Then other senior members of the local Muslim community “publicly humiliated Mr. William. They called him a “Chura,” which translates as detritus, an insult for Christians. They were beating and spitting on him in front of his wife and family members,” the BACA told Worthy News.
A transcript of the video, which was released on April 25, showed someone shouting: “Tell me! You became a Muslim. Did you become a Muslim back then or not? What did you say back then? That I want to become a solid Muslim.”
The transcript adds: “You read the Kalma (oath to be a Muslim), and now you have forgotten it! I will not spare any man who films this on his mobile.”
In comments shared with Worthy News, William’s aunt Gulshan Barkat said they beat her “nephew brutally. They cut his hair and abused him verbally. I had no idea what they planned to do; I thought they would kill Sikander; I was at my wit’s end.”
She said that “hundreds of Muslims” watched the violence. They all called for his death, not one valued human life.” Converting from Islam to the Christian faith is officially not a crime in Pakistan, but authorities have not taken actions against the suspects of the April beatings, the BACA explained.
The beatings came at a time of broader concerns about attacks against minority Christians and others blamed for blasphemy against Islam in Pakistan.
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