Young Christian man killed in Pakistan for not converting to Islam
A young man named only as Haroon, 22, has reportedly been shot and killed for his faith by a Muslim co-worker in Pakistan.
According to a news release from the advocacy group the Center for Legal Aid and Settlement in the UK (CLAAS), Haroon had recently started work in Lahore as a road sweeper, where he worked alongside Muslim security guard Umer Farooq.
Farooq mocked Haroon's Christian faith on a daily basis and tried to persuade him to convert to Islam. He told Haroon he was good looking, and should embrace Islam.
Farooq also promised Haroon a prosperous life and marriage to a rich Muslim woman, but Haroon did not care about these things and refused to convert.
When Haroon told his father what was going on, he advised him to ignore Farooq. On April 16 2014 Haroon went to work. Farooq again started a conversation about religion and began pressurizing him to embrace Islam.
CLAAS said Haroon asked Farooq politely why he was so keen for him to convert.
Harroon refused to convert, saying he was a follower of Jesus Christ. Farooq then shot Haroon, with a bullet hitting him the head, killing him on the spot. He la ter started shouting that Haroon had attempted suicide.
The police took the security guard into custody immediately. However, the news release from CLAAS stated, "(They) did not register an FIR (First Information Report), because they wanted to convert the murder case into suicide."
When the local Christians heard about the murder they staged a protest in front of the police station. An FIR was then filed.
Farooq is currently in custody and his case under investigation.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK, has condemned the killing.
He said in the news release, "Recently we have seen a report ... that 1000 Christian and Hindu girls are being forcibly converted to Islam, while there are also incidents where young boys and some men are also forced to convert to Islam, and if they refused they are killed and implicated in false cases."
Saeed added, "The situation (continues) because of the government inactions. If people involved in such crimes are brought to justice, then it can act as a deter rent, but instead they are being encouraged by local religious leaders, imams and madrasahs."
He said that the main reason for such crimes is growing religious intolerance and hate against minorities.
Saeed continued, "The government must ban religious discussion and forcing non-Muslims to convert to Islam must be considered a crime, otherwise minorities have no future in Pakistan. It is equally dangerous for the government as with the growing violation of human rights, Pakistan could be deprived of the benefits it is receiving from the international community ... "
According to the news release , "As has been the case in numerous other incidents, the police again dragged their heels in registering the case and only (registered it) because Christians in the locality raised their voices in solidarity with Haroon."
Saeed said, "Justice must be seen to be done and Farooq must be charged with murder, and punished for killing Haroon, just because he refused to forsake his faith and bow to the pressu re being placed on him."