A Pakistani Christian has been subjected to a horrifically brutal stabbing attack at the hands of his Muslim classmates. The assault was so vicious and the internal injuries so severe that his severed kidney had to be removed.
However, as is common in Pakistan, despite the utter savagery of the attack, the student’s parents were urged not to press charges. The incident occurred after Haroon Irfan, a high-achieving Christian student at Government Mohammadi School in Karachi, reported that his Muslim classmate, Muhammad Majid, had stolen and damaged his school textbook.
“Haroon made a complaint to the teacher and, when the notebook was recovered from Majid’s backpack, he got angry and felt insulted,” Irfan Masih, Haroon’s father, told International Christian Concern (ICC). From that point on, things escalated.
Two days later, on Sunday, February 17, Haroon was set upon by Majid and several other Muslim boys as he went out to buy food. “When Haroon was alone on the road, Majid and five others beat Haroon for alleging [Majid] of stealing his notebook and complaining to the teacher.”
During the course of the assault, the youngster was stabbed in the stomach so violently that his kidney was sliced right through. “The attack was so terrible that Haroon’s kidney was cut into two pieces,” a local Christian activist told ICC. The intelligent young man was discovered wounded on the ground and was rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment. As a result of his internal injuries, the doctors at Jinnah Hospital in Karachi were forced to remove his kidney.
Furious with his attackers, Haroon’s parents immediately attempted to file a police report, but the local authorities were reluctant to listen to them, instead suggesting that the families settle the matter outside of the local justice system. As a result, Haroon’s grandfather said that the family “not going into any process of negotiations or forgiveness,” adding that they simply “want justice.”
Local human rights advocate Ghazala Shafeeq took to social media following the attack, noting that this sort of incident is becoming increasingly common in many of the country’s schools. “This incident is a continuation of previous incidents of intolerance which we have experienced in schools and colleges,” he said on social media. “Christians feel insecure, therefore authorities must come up with practical steps to ensure their safety and security.”
The activist also urged the government to “introduce amendments to the educational system to promote religious tolerance.”
“If we don’t purify educational institutions and delete the hate material from the textbooks,” he added, “we are going to damage the next generation.”
Attacks against Christian high achievers
The case of this attack against a highly academic student bears resemblance to the murderous acid attack perpetrated against a Christian pharmacist last year.
Faraz Ahmed Badar was a 26-year-old pharmacist who worked at the DHQ Hospital in Gujaranwala. Before his death, he had been harassed relentlessly by a Muslim colleague, who was reportedly jealous that Badar was in a more senior position than him at work. The understanding was this – if you are a Christian, you should never be allowed to rise above a Muslim at work. And it was this prejudice that resulted in Badar’s untimely death.
On 5 September, the pharmacist was preparing for his shift when he was brutally attacked with acid by a group of men who were wearing face masks. The suspects are still at large. Badar was rushed to a local hospital, where he spent 10 days, before succumbing to his injuries and dying on September 15.
“Many Muslims believe that all Christians should be scavengers, not managers,” said Badar’s father in the wake of his son’s death.
“There was a lot of jealousy at his place of employment,” he added. “We live in a dog eat dog culture where often Christians become the victims because of their vulnerable status.”