A pregnant Christian women living in Pakistan is no longer expecting a baby due to a miscarriage after being stripped naked and beaten by two Muslim men earlier in November.
UCANews reports that twenty-eight-year-old Christian Elishba Bibi, who was three months pregnant at the time, was stripped naked and beaten by two Muslim brothers, Muneeb and Mobeel Gondal, after she had an argument regarding her beliefs with the brothers’ mother and sister earlier in November.. The attacks took place in the Sheikhupura district in the Punjab province–the same district where Asia Bibi, the woman sentenced to death for blasphemy for insulting the prophet Mohammed, lived.
Following the argument, the two brothers beat the young woman with iron pipes, tore off her clothing, and then dragged her into the street, where she later fell unconscious. Bibi told police that the men also stole her cellphone, gold necklace and the equivalent of about $10.
The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), a Pakistani Christian advocacy group, reports that while Bibi’s Christian neighbors called the police, local Muslims stood by and watched the beating to mock “the disgraced Christian.” The onlookers allegedly “felt no remorse or pity” and proceeded to throw stones at the young woman as she attempted to walk home.
According to Aslam Pervaiz Sahotra, the chairman of Human Liberation Commission of Pakistan, the attack against Bibi was motivated by her Christian faith, as the Muslim family had attempted to persuade Bibi to convert to Islam.
“This disgraceful attack was compounded by the further humiliation and hatred meted out by other members of the Muslim community, in a town with a history of violence against Christians,” BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry added. “Asia Bibi underwent a similar degrading attack only miles away from this poor victim and the situation seems to be getting worse.”
Although Christian activists staged a protests outside of the Lahore Press Club and the local police station and have demanded that the Gondal brothers be held accountable for their actions, the protests have reportedly had no effect as the police “tried to bully the Christians into ending their peaceful protest.”
Sadly, Bibi’s beating is only one of hundreds of incidents in blasphemy-related Human Rights abuses against religious minorities in Pakistan.
Persecution watchdog International Christian Concern has listed Pakistan as one of the “most difficult countries for Christian communities to exist” due to its harsh blasphemy laws, discrimination and outright persecution.
Two days after the murder of the Christian couple, a Shiite Muslim was chopped to death with an axe by a Pakistani police officer for allegedly making a blasphemous remark about the companions of the Prophet Muhammad.
A report by NGO network Awaz-e-Haq Itehad has noted that 182 Christians have faced blasphemy charges in Pakistan between 1987 and October 2014, which often carry life in prison or the death penalty as punishment.
“The laws are often used to settle personal vendettas – both against members of minority religious groups and Muslims – while individuals facing charges are frequently targeted in mob violence,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s deputy Asia Pacific director
“Those who speak out against the laws face terrible reprisals. However, the blasphemy laws violate international law and must be repealed or reformed immediately to meet international standards.”
Since 2002, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has called on the administration to designate Pakistan a “country of particular concern,” a step that would make it eligible for sanctions or other measures intended to prod governments to stop violating religious freedom.
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