Intervention of a Muslim activist saved the life of an innocent illiterate Christian man and managed to wipe off the charges of blasphemous act of burning Qur’anic verse containing pages.
Mansha Masih, is a Christian, who has worked for 15 years as a street sweeper cum scavenger in the Hajweri area of Faisalabad. That day, he was picking up waste and leaves around some abandoned houses, when a young Muslim named Billu accused him, from the roof of his home, of destroying pages of The Holy Qur’an, the beloved sacred book of the Muslims. He, later, stormed towards the Christian man and brutally beat him. All this commotion attracted a mob of people to gather and as it always happens, the mob, too, charged Masih of having burned pages with Qur’anic writing on them without hearing out the victim’s side.
However, the intervention of the 26-year old Muslim activist Farhan Sadiq , a journalist and member of the Human Rights Defenders Network, was vital in saving the Christian’s life at the hands of the aggressive mob who were ready to lynch him, too. He freed Masih from the hands of the tormentors and took him home. He then did an independent investigation to verify the facts himself, after which it was found that those pages were “desecrated” by two minor students in the area, who were averting going to the local mosque and so they burned the books in a fit of rage.
Meanwhile, rumors of this alleged blasphemy case had already circulated in the town and a crowd was ready to punish the man to death. Even after the confession of two young men, the crowd did not want to believe that Mansha Masih, was innocent, despite of repeatedly stating that he cannot read and so had done nothing wrong as he did not know the content of printed sheets. Till the end, Sadiq courageously dealt with crowd and finally succeeded in proving the charges to be false, saving the Christian’s life.
With more than 180 million as population (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is considered the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia. About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, while Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent). Violence against ethnic and religious minorities is commonplace across the country, with Shia Muslims and Christians as the main target. Dozens of blasphemy cases, including targeted attacks against entire communities mar the country each day. But such acts where humanity is kept above all, do need special mention in our day to day reads to make us understand that humanity is truly the need of the hour. These come with a hope to help increase the our level of tolerance towards the members of our species, regardless of their beliefs, for bringing peace in not just one nation, but in the whole world, and to put an end to acts that tarnish the image of our society and to help bring about social harmony.
Dr Aafreen Kotadiya
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