Christians in Australia hold candlelight vigil for Pakistani teenager killed at school for being Christian
13 Sep 2017
London: September 13, 2017. (PCP) Sharoon Masih an incredibly bright student from an impoverished Christian family, was slain in his classroom by Muslim pupils who could not bear the sight of a Christian on 27th August 2017. Moved by the brutality of his attack Christians in Australia are to hold a Candlelight vigil to honour his memory and to call for the Australian Government to use their influence with their counterparts in Pakistan, to alter the existing poor human rights record within the country.
Sharoon was the son of Elyab Masih and Razia Bibi. Elyab Masih is a part-time labourer at a brick kiln who had to work less hours after suffering a serious heart condition. Against all the odds Sharoon Masih gained the highest scores at his former school named Chack 461 EB (up to grade 8), eponymous with its geographical location. So convinced were the Christian teachers that Sharoon would be a successful individual that they challenged his poverty-stricken parents not to put him to work but to encourage him to pursue higher education.
His father Elyab Masih (35 yrs) saved some money from the work he undertakes as a labourer on a brick kiln, paid for the admission for Sharoon to join 'MC Model Boys Government High School Burewala and District Vehari'.
Sharoon was isolated from the very first day he joined his new high school a consequence of being the only Christian within his form. His parents told BPCA officer Mehwish Bhatti that he suffered targeted abuse from the day he started on 25th August 2017.
On his first-day, Sharoon was slapped and told to stand outside the class for an entire day day for not wearing the school uniform. His parents say he didn’t wear the uniform because they simply didn’t have the money to buy it.
As he was beaten he was called a 'filthy Christian', a 'demon' and a chura (a derogatory word for christians). The insults continued till his last breath literally. For day's Muslim pupils refused Sharoon access to drinking water from a cooler.
None of the school staff took Sharoon to the hospital some pupils took his dead body some hours later. Elyas got a call much later the caller told them coldly that their son had passed away because of a fight in school and that they could pick his body from the hospital.
No teacher or staff member has been suspended from the school as of yet. This is alarming since Sharoon’s peers claim that the teachers did not pay heed to their complaints of the fight and cries for help as the violence unfolded. Read full story (click here)
British Pakistani Christian Chairman, Wilson Chowdhry highlighted the incident to a culturally diverse church at Concord Community Centre, where he was invited to present a case for a proposal for an 'Approved Proposer Organisation' to be submitted to the Australian 'Community Sponsorship Programme' for humanitarian entrants.
Moved by the plight of Sharoon's family who are now being threatened by Muslim families to drop charges against the child murderers and brought to tears by the loss of a bright young life, the church decided to hold a vigil in his memory to highlight the ongoing persecution of Christians in Pakistan.
Wilson Chowdhry, said: "The brutal killing of this young man who had the potential to be a great success is heart-breaking. Through no fault of his own he was targeted for abuse and violence for adherence to the Christian faith.
"hatred towards religious minorities is bred into the majority population at a young age, through cultural norms and a biased national curriculum. Is it any wonder they are they are a constant target for persecution?
"Our Candlelight vigil will allow people of good conscience to mourn for the loss of Martyr Sharoon Masih, who held onto his faith despite knowing it meant he would suffer and ultimately lose his life."
"We hope by holding the vigil before the Australian Parliament in NSW that politicians in this country will rethink their relationship with Pakistan. Australia sent $471m to Pakistan for foreign aid in 2017/2018 (click here). None of that budget is earmarked to improve the human rights of minorities who are oppressed by the majority Muslim population incessantly.
"Despite evidence of persecution in Pakistan most countries in the West risk assess Pakistani Christians as severely discriminated and not persecuted. This makes it almost impossible for them to escape the country and free themselves from the yoke of persecution.
"In light of this attack and the many recorded in Pakistan I pray the Government of Australian looks favourably on our joint submission with an Australian NGO, for APO status. Only then can we help some of the many long-suffering pariah Christians of Pakistan."