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Pakistan Teenage Girl “Mercilessly Beaten” For Christian Faith and Wearing Cross

BosNewsLife (10/13/06) – A teenage girl was “mercilessly beaten and punished” by Muslim teachers at her school for “defending” her faith in Christ and wearing a cross, amid growing concern over violence against Christian women and girls in the Asian nation, Pakistani Christians said Friday, October 13.

15-year-old Kiran Shahzadi, who lives in a predominantly Muslim are in Kasur, near Lahore , was attacked September 13 at the Government Girls High school , said the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), a major advocacy group in a statement to BosNewsLife.

APMA said it learned from local Christians and the father of the victim, Yaqoob Masih, that the troubles began for the student when her Arabic Muslim teacher, Naisra Latif, “rebuked her for wearing a cross and ordered to remove it from her neck.”

Kiran allegedly refused to remove the cross and replied, “Cross is our Christian religious symbol so I can not remove it”. The refusal infuriated the teacher who allegedly started beating Kiran and took her to the school principal, who also mistreated her “and pulled the cross from her neck and threw it in the dust bin,” APMA claimed.

SCORCHING HEAT

“The principal also made her stand under the scorching heat of the sun for several hours without water…as a result she fainted,” APMA Chairman Shahbaz Bhatti told BosNewsLife. After fellow class members informed her father, he and Christian leaders went to the school where they were told she will be expelled from school if law enforcement authorities are informed about the incident, APMA established.

On September 14, Yaqoob took Kiran to hospital for a medical check up where a doctor asserted she “was beaten severely,” APMA’s Bhatti said.

Despite the threatened expulsion, Christian leaders informed local police, but officials allegedly refused to register the case. One official allegedly told the father of Kiran that the “Pope has also blasphemed against our Holy Prophet.” Police and school officials have so far not commented on the case.

Police warned that if Yaqoob and the Christian delegation will raise the issue, Muslim teachers are ready to file a case against them of scuffling and misbehaving with Muslim female teachers, APMA said, adding that this was not the first attack against Christian girls in the area.

OTHER CASES

“There were several other cases reported earlier in which the same Government High schools’ Muslim teachers snubbed and deliberately targeted Christian students. Even Christian students are not allowed to drink water from Taps used by Muslim girls,” Bhatti said.

“Christian students in this school are not given opportunities to excel in educational activities or other academics. One of such example is that last year two Christian girls were not allowed to sit in a Science group, whereas, girls who scored lower marks were allowed there,” he added.

APMA plans “to pursue this case for justice” as “Kiran and other Christian students after this incidents fear to go to school.” Elsewhere in Pakistan there are similar reports of discrimination. “In the government schools the Muslim students can freely read their Holy Quran and profess their religion and even the government has build Mosques in the compounds of schools and colleges…But it is not tolerated that the Christian students wear cross or profess religion,” said Shahbaz Bhatti.