08/19/2019 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – A Christian family in Lahore, Pakistan has reported being “terrorized” by local extremists after opening a summer education program. According to the Christians, the extremists have accused them of teaching Christianity to Muslim children and forced them to shut down their charity program.
“We started a project for interfaith harmony and education teaching marginalized children from different faiths about a year ago,” Aftab Hayat told International Christian Concern (ICC). “In June, we started a summer camp that provided a free program for children that have dropped out of school. The design of this program was to provide guidance for these children to become civilized and tolerant.”
Two weeks into the summer program, Hayat and his family were approached by three unknown men. These men inquired about the aims and objectives of the summer program and asked if religious studies were being offered to the students.
The next evening, the same group of men, now accompanied by two armed men, broke into the academy, damaged various properties, and harassed the children participating in the summer program. According to Hayat, the two armed me dragged Enosh Emmanuel Hayat, a member of the family, out of the building and beat him. The assailants claimed he had been teaching Christianity to Muslim students.
“They threatened us with consequences if the academy was not shut down,” Hayat explained. “They alleged that we were promoting Christianity and were doing Christian evangelism.”
“For safety and security, we had no other choice but to obey the extremists and shutdown the academy,” Nighat Aftab, Enosh’s mother, told ICC. “I don’t want to lose my son or any family member. This terrorizing incident has already put us into trauma.”
The incident was reported to local police, but Hayat and his family claim the police were unwilling to register a First Information Report (FIR). When the family approached higher police officials, they were told to withdraw the religious elements of the incident in order for the report to be filed.
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