08/05/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – On August 2, Iqbal Masih, a Christian sanitation worker, was attacked and beaten by a group of Muslims in Wazirabad, located in the Gujranwala district of Pakistan’s Punjab province. According to Masih, he was attacked because he simply pushed his garbage trolley past the Muslims while they were celebrating the Eid al-Adha festival.
According to local sources, Masih was performing his normal sanitation duties collecting garbage and the remains of animals being slaughtered for the Eid al-Adha festival when he was attacked by Muhammad Irfan, Ali Raza, and Muhammad Irshad.
“I asked them to let me pass to collect the garbage,” Masih told International Christian Concern (ICC). “However, the Muslims refused to allow a Christian to pass the slaughter area.”
“Since it was a busy day, I proceeded but was caught by the three men,” Masih continued. “They felt insulted and called me “choora” for disobeying Muslims.”
Choora is a derogatory name often used to denote Pakistani Christians as untouchable and fit only for subservient occupations. This intolerance is one of the main reasons why Pakistani Christians are dramatically overrepresented in the country’s sanitation work force. According to studies, Pakistani Christians, who represent only 2% of the population, make up between 80% to 90% of Pakistan’s sanitation work force.
“They shouted at me, pulled me down from the driving seat, dragged me to the road, and thrashed with iron rods,” Masih told ICC. After the attack, Masih was taken to the local hospital and is currently receiving medical treatment.
“We work to keep the city clean,” Masih explained. “However, Muslims treat us with hatred and consider us to be slaves. We have no rights and no respect in this country.”
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