12/30/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Earlier this month, a Christian student at a medical college in Lahore, Pakistan was forced to drop out after she experienced intense harassment from her Muslim classmates.
Ayesha Masih was studying at a medical college in Lahore when she started facing intense harassment from her Muslim classmates in late November. The harassment started when Masih was confronted by Muslim classmates while attending an Islamic studies course.
“A Muslim girl sitting behind me asked about my faith background,” Masih told International Christian Concern (ICC). “I proudly told her that I am a Christian.”
“The Muslim girl did not like my response and objected to me studying Islamic studies because I am not a Muslim,” Masih continued. “I made it clear that I have been studying this subject since grade nine and ten and have always received excellent results.”
“The next day, she refused to shake my hand in the morning,” Masih said. “The girl said she did not want to touch a non-Muslim. Her attitude scared me a bit, however, I ignored it as I just wanted to focus on my studies.”
Weeks later, in December, the harassment Masih faced became more serious. It got to a point where she feared for her personal safety.
“I had to leave the medical college because I was afraid my Muslim classmates would accuse me of insulating Islamic books,” Masih explained. “One day, I left the classroom for the cafeteria and retuned to see a group of girls gathered around my desk. They started abusing me for allegedly insulting the Islamic textbooks by putting my backpack on the ground.”
“I refused this allegation as I did not put my backpack on the ground,” Masih continued. “However, none of them listened and they started beating me.”
Masih’s parents made a complaint with the administration of the medical college, but the administration did little to investigate the situation. Fearing Masih could be falsely accused of blasphemy by a Muslim classmate, Masih and her family decided dropping out of the medical college was the safest option.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.
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