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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1524746114971{margin-bottom: 22px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”99703″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]10/31/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The persecution of Christians living in Pakistan is severe. With oppression and persecution from radical Islamic groups, fueled by the support of political parties, Christians are ostracized and placed at great risk in the country.

Recently, International Christian Concern (ICC) learned about Cecil, a 15-year-old Christian boy living in Karachi, Pakistan who was attacked and brutally tortured for his faith in Jesus Christ.

The persecution began after Cecil confronted a group of Islamic seminary students and asked them not to enter into his neighborhood and forcefully convert Christians to Islam. The students mocked Cecil and threatened him, telling him not to “become a hurdle in their mission.

Cecil’s’ father, Yousef*, told ICC that shortly after this exchange, Cecil and his family were attacked. “In February, an armed mob attacked our house and tortured family members which resulted in minor injuries to the family’s women and head injuries to Cecil,” Yousef said. “The mob made their way in, breaking the main gate of the house at midnight.

The attackers broke the doors, windows, fans, furniture, damaged the vehicle, and looted the valuables, including two laptops, four mobile phones, and cash,” Yousef continued.

To ensure Cecil’s protection, a local church-led organization transferred Cecil to a safer location for six months. The Christians hoped that this absence would allow the situation to calm down.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“This is `{`an`}` alarming situation for the religious minorities. The government must take sincere measures to curb religious extremism and promote religious harmony.”” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1540996101782{margin-top: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 60px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1540996048153{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

In August, Cecil returned home to his family and, yet again, he was attacked and brutally tortured by the same group of radicals. His father told ICC, “The religiously motivated group thrashed him badly. His foot was hit with some sharp weapon causing the skin on his foot to peel off, exposing the bones.”

He continued, “Cecil is still under medical treatment and his life is being threatened.” Yousef also told ICC that the family is being threatened not to pursue legal action against the attackers. If they do, Yousef fears that his family could be attacked again.

While speaking with ICC, Kashif Anthony, Coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, condemned this “inhumane” action. Anthony also called upon law enforcement agencies to protect Cecil and his family and ensure religious freedoms for minority groups.

This is [an] alarming situation for the religious minorities,” Anthony told ICC. “The government must take sincere measures to curb religious extremism and promote religious harmony. Every citizen should enjoy religious freedom and protection as per constitutional guarantees.

As Cecil and his family remain in hiding, ICC is working with the family to help cover all of Cecil’s medical costs. ICC is also seeking a way to ensure that Cecil and his family are protected in the days to come so that they can live a life free from fear of attack.

*Name changed for security

For interviews with William Stark, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]