A six-year-old boy is the latest victim of false blasphemy accusations in Pakistan after a school teacher assaulted the child so severely that he needed to be put into intensive care in hospital. Mission Network News (MNN) reports “he was beaten to within an inch of his life” for alleged blasphemy.
Christian ministry FMI, formerly known as Forgotten Missionaries International, has been in contact with local Christian leaders regarding the attack in the city of Khanewal in Punjab province.
Bruce Allen from FMI explained what happened: “This boy had a workbook. He was just fiddling with it, he cannot really read it, and he’s making rips or tears in the notebook. But because that notebook or the curriculum had Qur’anic verses printed in it, it’s considered desecration against the Qur’an. This boy had no intention of committing blasphemy. He probably doesn’t even understand what blasphemy is. And yet, because he’s a Christian, the teacher who is Muslim uses that incident as an excuse to beat him severely enough — not just that he’s hospitalised, but he nearly loses his life.”
FMI has been told the boy has since been released into his family’s care, but there is no word yet on whether he was truly fit to be discharged from the hospital, or his current physical state.
Mr. Allen told MNN: “In this town in Punjab province, even now, the Christian families are fleeing for their lives. So when I hear that this boy is recuperating with his family, I don’t know that he’s at home. They could be on the run for their lives. I don’t know that they have the medical resources to take care of his wounds.”
In praying for this Christian boy and his family, Mr. Allen says, “I’m gonna get really practical and [pray that] they can sleep well at night. We know our bodies don’t heal whether emotionally or physically very well if we’re not getting good sleep. Can you imagine the nightmares that a six-year-old boy could have replaying the scene in his mind? In what he expects is the safety of his classroom, and the one who’s in authority beats him brutally? So pray that the family sleeps well.”
“Pray for his future because God can raise up from this boy someone who could have such a strong voice in the Christian community as a strong testimony of what forgiveness looks like [and] even a strong voice to say, ‘I’m a survivor of what society tried to do to me, and we need to change society,’” he added.
MNN writes that Pakistan’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and that blasphemy laws are often used to encourage vindictive targeting of Christians.
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