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Convert to Islam or work as a slave

23 Jun

What amazes me the most is the attitude of many Muslims in Pakistan who have voluntarily assumed the responsibility of spreading Islam by hook or by crook. This self -assigned role has a strong link to the preaching of those religious leaders who perform this duty on every nook and corner with a sense of pride. Poisoning thousands of minds is the path that will lead them straight to heaven according to them. I sympathize with this religion—Islam—which is in the hands of wrong people who  have left no option in popularizing it in just a wrong way. The fault lies with interpretations and anyone could come up with his/her own version of Islam here without any fear of accountability.

The teachings of so called religious Mullahs have a strong and long-lasting impact on fragile and vulnerable minds of illiterate and literate people who have gone insane in their pursuit for heaven. This story of 11-year old Christian boy did not come as a shock after putting the context right. A Muslim landlord is desperate for heaven and uses all inhuman ways to compel this boy to convert to Islam. The incentives he has given to this boy seems to me complete blackmailing and the sad part is that no concrete action has been taken so far to rescue this boy from the clutches of insanity. Islam has never wished to have followers with force, and it is a religion of one’s personal choice. But it has been portrayed so negatively that no one can see the original colour of Islam anymore and I would say it is the most misused religion in the world at the moment.

Below is the story:

WAZIRABAD, June 21 (CDN) — An 11-year-old Christian boy here is growing weak and ill from malnutrition from working in slave-like conditions for a Muslim landowner who kidnapped him and is forcing him to work off his family’s debts, his mother told Compass. Katherine Bibi said landowner Ashraf Cheema of Dhonikay village,
Wazirabad, has offered her son better conditions and possibly cancellation of the debt if he will convert to Islam. “He is frequently invited to convert to Islam by Ashraf Cheema, and in return he is promised that he will be freed from the iron chains and his work will be eased and he will be served better meals,” she said. “Cheema has said, ‘The debt of your father and brother might also be forgiven if you convert.’”

Young Danish Masih works without break from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m., often in iron chains, on half a loaf of bread per day, according to Dawood Masih of the National Commission of Justice and Peace (NCJP).

“Due to the lack of sleep and immense physical and mental pressure, he is becoming weaker and ill,” Dawood Masih said. “And he is doing this bonded labor without any kind of leave, including sick leave, for the last one-and-a-half years, in place of his father Riaz Masih and elder brother Adnan Kashif.”

The boy’s father and older brother had been working for Cheema to
pay off a debt of 142,000 rupees (US$1,640), but their employer was neither paying their monthly wages nor deducting the amounts from their debt, said Emmanuel Berkat Gill of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA). Riaz Masih’s monthly wage was 3,000 rupees (US$35), and Adnan Kashif earned 2,500 rupees (US$29) per month.

Cheema also extorted land worth 35,000 rupees (US$404) from the boy’s older brother, again without deducting the amount from their debt, and ransacked the family’s house in Ali Naggar village,
stealing Katherine Bibi’s dowry worth 200,000 rupees (US$2,308), she and Gill said.

“Being a rich, powerful and influential Muslim landowner, Cheema
did all of this and also had the cruelty to not deduct the amount from the debt,” Gill said. Suffering under Cheema in this way, the family decided to flee to Islamabad, 165 miles (102 miles) away, Katherine Bibi said. About 18 months ago, however, the peaceful life they had begun anew was shattered when Cheema abducted their youngest son, also known as Mithu, and took him to his farmhouse at Dhonikay village near Ali Naggar in Wazirabad.

“After all these cruelties, Ashraf Cheema owes us some amount, rather than us owing him,” an inconsolable Katherine Bibi told Compass by telephone. She has gone to court to recover her son – both her husband and older son do not risk provoking Cheema by attaching their names to the case – and on June 10 District and Sessions Judge Chaudhary Muhammad Ilyas sent a bailiff to Cheema’s farm to secure the return of the 11-year-old.

“But the bailiff returned unsuccessfully without Mithu, as Ashraf Cheema, being an influential and rich landowner, was told beforehand about the raid by an anonymous insider, and he hid the child,” Katherine Bibi said. She said that since the bailiff failed to recover her son, Cheema has hurled threats at her and her husband, saying, “After this raid by the bailiff, you will neither be able to get back your son, nor will you be granted a cancellation for your debt.”

After joint efforts by Gill of APMA and Dawood Masih of the NCJP,
however, Cheema agreed that if Riaz Masih would work in place of his son, he would release the child, Gill said. When Gill, Dawood Masih and Riaz Masih went to Cheema’s farmhouse, however, the landowner went back on his word and refused to hand over the boy.

Contacted by Compass, Cheema said that no such boy works at his farm or fields, and that “someone must have misled you.” Besides the court recognition of the abduction, however, Gill and other credible sources assert that Danish Masih works from dawn to
dusk under a sizzling summer sun without any break or meal. At press time local Christian leaders had petitioned the deputy superintendent police of Wazirabad to recover Danish Masih.

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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Christians

 

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