A campaign of bullying and harassment of Sharoon Masih, 17, culminated last week in the murder of the Christian pupil at a school in the Punjab.
According to this report, the gifted pupil who was head of his class was the only Christian student in his grade. He had faced isolation and bullying from the first day he entered the school in Verahi District.
His mother said he was warned from the beginning not to mix with the Muslims at school, with one fellow classmate saying:
You’re a Christian. Don’t dare sit with us if you want to live.
Repeated attempts were made to convert Sharoon, but he refused. His family reported that he used his isolation to concentrate on his studies and reached the top of his class – a position which infuriated his fellow students even more.
Said his mother:
Sharoon and I cried every night as he described the daily torture he was subjected to. He only told me about the abuse and violence he was facing. He did not want to upset his father because he had such a caring heart for others.
Sharoon’a father, a labourer at a brick kiln had saved money to send his gifted son to the best school in the area.
While the instigator of the beating was been arrested, many other boys took part in the murder remain at large as witnesses to the horrific beating refuse to come forward.
There are varying reports about why no teachers stopped the fight. Initial reports out of the classroom allege the teacher ignored the fight. Others say it occurred between classes when the teacher was not present.
The headmaster of the school was dismissed, but to date, all the teachers remain in their positions.
Said Wilson Chowdhry, chair of the British Pakistani Christian Association.
Christians are despised and detested in Pakistan; they are a constant target for persecution.
This killing of a young Christian teenager at school serves only to remind us that hatred towards religious minorities is bred into the majority population at a young age, through cultural norms and a biased national curriculum.
However by no means is such treatment an anomaly – it is an expectation that Christians will face abuse and violence during the years in the educational system.
Choudary charged that culpability for the crime goes all the way to the Pakistani government, which has failed to remove material from the national curriculum that teaches and reinforces intolerance toward Christians.
Notably, the curriculum was flagged by the United States Commission for International Freedom as a potential bar to foreign aid.
Such poor governance has inculcated generations of Pakistani citizens with false stereotypes that undermine the basic human rights of the non-Muslims in their midst.
This mis-education has reciprocally also made Muslims more susceptible to the hate ideology espoused by the many rogue Imams following hardline sects of Islam.
Sharoon was bright and intelligent young boy who had a potentially good future has now been killed.
This report identifies the teenager’s killer as Muhammad Ahmed Rana, who has confessed and has been arrested and detained by local police.
Sadly few other students feel any remorse for killing a Christian and no-one is willing to implicate the other murderers by naming them. The parents of Sharoon believe the wall of silence reveals the contempt that these students have for Christians and the low value placed on their lives.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn