Pakistan: Tortured brick makers refuse to embrace Islam


Steadfast Christian faith sustains them through month-long imprisonment. Two brothers who used to work at a brick kiln have escaped from what they describe as a kidnapping and torture by the business owner, who wanted them to convert from Christianity to Islam, according to a new report from Voice of the Martyrs, a U.S.-based Christian group helping members of the persecuted Christian church worldwide. The two now have had to move to a new location in Pakistan, since the kiln owner continues to search for them, alleging they owe him a sum of about $750 – or 45,000 rupees The brothers, Shahzad, 18, and Saraj Bashir, 20, were working for the kiln company – at the rate of about 200 to 300 rupees per 1,000 bricks, but were being pressured by the owner to forsake Christianity. One day their steadfast Christian faith brought their Islamic boss to a breaking point. "When Shahzad and Saraj refused to convert, the brick kiln owner took them away," according to a VOM source within Pakistan. "He put them in a small, empty room with a mud floor without a bed, chair or mattress." The source continued: "He kept them there for a month. He gave them food once a day and beat them with a stick when they refused to convert back to Islam. He also threw acid on their arms, but they remained true to their Christ." The tension between the kiln owner`s demands and the brothers` faith had been building for some time. The brothers had been paid for the first few weeks of work, but then the owner, angered by meetings the Christians held, stopped paying for the work and instead told the family they owed him the 45,000 rupees. "What angered the brick kiln owner more were the prayer meetings conducted by Pastor Emmanuel. Christians attended the prayer meetings and refused converting to Islam," the VOM source reported. Throughout the time the brothers were held, they prayed daily and asked God to rescue them, VOM said. One day, their chance came. "When they discovered the door [to their prison] was open, they bowed before God and thanked Him for the miracle and then escaped," the informant told VOM. The brothers fled for days, without food, until they could reach their family. Their fear of the kiln owner anger and potential future actions have forced them now to move from the area. Reports are that the kiln owner continues searching for the brothers in order to get repayment of their "debt," according to VOM. The brothers pray their experience will bring other Muslims to a knowledge of Christianity, VOM said. VOM is a non-profit, interdenominational ministry working worldwide to help Christians who are persecuted for their faith, and to educate the world about that persecution. Its headquarters are in Bartlesville, Okla., and it has 30 affiliated international offices.

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