Thomas Burrows, Daily Mail, June 10, 2016
A Christian ice-cream salesman was beaten by a gang of Muslims for selling ‘unclean merchandise’ to Muslim children.
Khaleel Masih, a father-of-six, was selling ice cream from the back of his bicycle in a village near his home city of Changa Manga when he was attacked.
Christians make up less than two per cent of the population in Pakistan and attacks have increased in recent years in the Muslim-majority nation.
Masih, 42, had visited a nearby village in the Kasur district to sell ice cream when two Muslim brothers–Muhammad Rizwan and Muhammad Farman–started insulting him.
They called him ‘Chora’, an insulting word for Christians.
He said: ‘They then began accusing me of selling unclean merchandise to Muslim children. I wanted to argue and make them understand that this wasn’t true but they didn’t listen to me. Instead, they began to beat and torture me.’
Soon, around 20 other men had joined in the beating. They also damaged his bicycle and scattered his ice-cream along the ground.
He said other Muslim men and women shouted at him: ‘Christians are untouchables! They are not followers of our holy prophet.
‘They are meant for cleaning our houses and therefore should not be allowed to sell anything edible to Muslims.’
When Masih explained what had happened at the local police station, they refused to take a statement.
When he was finally allowed to file a report, he was pressured into withdrawing his complaint and forced to sign a reconciliation agreement.
His experience reflects the regular persecution Christians in Pakistan face from hard-line Muslims, who want to see a strict interpretation of Islamic law take precedence in Pakistan’s legal system.
In March at least 74 people were killed–including 24 children–in a sickening attack on a children’s playground that targeted Christians celebrating Easter Sunday.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a group affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the atrocity.