News / Asia

Christians Flee Their Homes in Pakistani Capital

Christians Flee Their Homes in Pakistani Capital

x
Christians Flee Their Homes in Pakistani Capitali
|| 0:00:00
X
August 28, 2012 8:56 PM
Afraid for their lives, Christians have fled their homes in the Islamabad neighborhood where a young girl has been accused by Muslim neighbors of blasphemy. Sharon Behn reports from the Pakistani capital on what some see as the growing intolerance for religious minorities in the country.

Christians Flee Their Homes in Pakistani Capital

Sharon Behn
ISLAMABAD — Afraid for their lives, Christians have fled their homes in the Islamabad neighborhood where a young girl has been accused by Muslim neighbors of blasphemy. 

Shaqila Bibi, a Christian, is packing up.  She’s afraid Muslims in her neighborhood will attack her if she stays.
 
“We are frightened," said Bibi. "They can harm us any time, set us on fire, and the landlord has asked us to leave so that we are not harmed.”

David Masih says families fled the area after an angry mob gathered outside the house of 14-year-old Rimsha Masih - accused by a neighbor of burning pages inscribed with verses from the Quran.  Under Pakistan's blasphemy law, such action is a crime punishable by death or life in prison.
 
While Pakistan's president has pledged an investigation into the young girl's case, many Christians are not taking chances.

Masih - who is not related to Rimsha Mashi - says landlords have given them until September 1 to leave.
 
Christians accused of blasphemy have been attacked and burned to death before.

“We are very worried," said Masih. "We want the government to protect us.  Where are poor people like us supposed to go? If the deadline passes, they will harm us.”
 
Human rights activist Farzana Bari says not enough is being done against a growing religious intolerance fueled by poverty and outside influences, and an overly broad blasphemy law.
 
“I think the government has no will to stand against those religious groups and also, generally, the law enforcement institutions and structures are very weak," said Bari.
 
Mohammad Ali says the landlords and village elders have come to their own conclusions.
 
“Whether they are frightened or not, this is God’s last book. We all should respect that. And everybody has decided that they should leave," said Ali.
 
For these minority Christians, now rebuilding their lives on a government-granted plot in central Islamabad, it was a decision they had feared.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid