A Pakistani Christian woman was thrown off a roof last month for refusing to embrace the religion of Islam. Binish Paul, 18, fell victim to the brutal act after refusing to marry her Muslim boyfriend, Taheer Abbas. Abbas was furious that Paul would not convert to Islam, and took out his frustration in one horrific show of violence.
According to her lawyer, Paul suffered “severe fractures to her legs and spine” as a result of the impact.
“For months, Taheer had been putting pressure on Binish to convert to Islam,” said Tabassum Yousaf, Paul’s attorney, as reported by Aid to the Church in Need. “Over and over again, she refused. This culminated in the violent act.”
As is common in these highly volatile Pakistani Muslim communities, the backlash has been against Paul herself, rather than the vicious perpetrator. Her family turned to local police, but were met with contempt.
“They also received serious threats from the family of the perpetrator,” Yousaf noted. “If the case were not closed, then they would all be accused of blasphemy.”
Yousaf has continued to fight on behalf of the Christian family, filing charges directly with the courts. But gathering the necessary evidence has proved difficult. As part of the legal proceedings, Yousaf must obtain a medical report detailing the injuries sustained by Paul as a result of the assault. The hospital, however, initially refused to provide this report. But when the realized that it was a legal obligation to do so, they submitted the report, which detailed the horrific injuries. As a result of this, the police had no choice but to arrest Taheer Abbas two days after the crime was committed.
Yousaf explained that too often, Christian communities are unaware of their rights in these awful cases of violence and abuse.
“When similar attacks happen in our Church community, the main problem is that the Christians in Pakistan often belong to the poorest social groups and are not aware of their rights,” he explained. “For example, hardly anyone knows that you can file charges with the courts. The refusal of the police to open a case, together with threats from the relatives and friends of the perpetrators, ensure that many families do not even report the crimes they have suffered.”
Ms. Yousaf noted that she’d seen some 15-30 cases of this nature occur in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi over the course of this year alone. The problem, she said, was that Christian women often feel too frightened to report these heinous crimes.
“Many people are afraid because the Muslim community threatens to rape or kill the women of these families,” the lawyer noted. “In Pakistan, it is difficult to receive justice if you are a member of a religious minority.”
The government, which is notoriously anti-Christian, does not offer adequate legal assistance to Christians victims. “Many members of minority groups are not even aware that they have the same rights as Muslims,” she said. “As a Catholic lawyer, I consider it important that they have access to more information in this area and receive legal assistance. I am rendering this service for God and my Church.”
(H/T: Aid to the Church in Need)