Pakistan, as anyone who can read will tell you, is a hellish place to be a religious minority. Since independence from the UK in 1947 religious minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Jains have been forced out of the country or have been violently intimidated into converting to Islam. Those members of religious minorities that hold fast to their faiths often find themselves discriminated against and subjected to violence.
There is too often no quarter given to religious minorities and Islamic hate is directed towards minorities such as Christians on a horrifically regular basis. In this latest story about the shithole that is Pakistan, Christians, including those with obvious mental health problems are not left unmolested by the followers of the savage and violent ideology of Islam.
According to a Christian website World Watch Monitor, a Christian man who was mourning the death of his son and in addition was suffering from mental illness has been arrested for blasphemy and insulting Islam. The Christian, Iqbal Masih, was arrested by police on the day of his son’s funeral after he insulted Islam in the street. I suppose being arrested is better than what the local Islamic savages wanted to do to him which was to burn him to death.
Here’s the report from World Watch Monitor
A Christian man was arrested on the day of his son’s funeral in Pakistan last weekend, and charged with insulting Islam – blasphemy – despite being recognised as mentally ill. He is now in prison.
Iqbal Masih, 65, a retired father of nine, is from the Fazlia Colony of Lahore, a Christian neighbourhood with around 1,000 residents, and has long experienced mental health issues, for which he is on medication.
Muhammad Waqas, the complainant, told World Watch Monitor that whenever Masih failed to take his medicine, he would go out into the street and shout abuse at passers-by.
A close family member of the Masihs, who wished to remain anonymous, told World Watch Monitor that his son, Bobby, had died following a short illness and that his father had stopped taking his medication.
“Bobby’s body was at home and people from the neighbourhood were visiting to pay their condolences when Iqbal started shouting abuse, after which the women left his home,” Waqas said.
“Iqbal then recited the kalima [the Islamic proclamation of faith] and shouted abuse. Realising that he was not behaving normally, the police were called to take him away so that tension between Christians and Muslims of the area might not arise.”
But Dilraj John, a local resident, said several Muslim clerics and others had also gathered, angered by Masih’s comments.
“Some of them wanted to set him on fire, but other sensible people suggested that Masih be handed over to the police as he was experiencing a mental health crisis,” he said. “Since then the situation is under control and the situation between Muslims and Christians is no longer tense.”
“Masih was mentally suffering. He could start calling names in the middle of the night. The complainant lives next door to him, but there was no previous enmity between them and the sole reason for the complaint was Iqbal’s name-calling,” he added.
Waqas said Masih had previously been sent to an asylum but that his family couldn’t afford for him to stay there.
“I asked the police to send him to the mental asylum again as everyone is fed up with him,” he said. “That is why Christians of the area also consented that he was handed over to the police.”
Amnesty International’s report ‘As Good As Dead: The Impact Of The Blasphemy Laws In Pakistan’, notes: “The Pakistan Penal Code exempts from criminal prosecution those who ‘by reason of unsoundness of mind, [are] incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that [they are] doing what is either wrong or contrary to law’.
“However, the burden to prove ‘unsoundness of mind’ is on the accused, the difficulty of which is compounded within a context of general stigma and lack of awareness about people with mental illnesses in Pakistan.”
It looks like the local Muslims, including the complainant, have not given any consideration to the mental suffering that Mr Masih was experiencing and rather than ignore the rantings of an obvious madman, have had the Christian arrested. Normal civilised people may have ignored the rantings or may have clubbed together to get this man some treatment or helped his family persuade Mr Masih to take his medication. But this is not a civilised land, this is Islam dominated Pakistan. In Pakistan to be a religious minority is to be a half person subjected to violence or the threat of violence and having lesser rights in law.
Apologists for Islam are often loud in exclaiming that Muslims in the West are an ‘oppressed minority’ and that Islam respects those of other faiths. But, before we accept those claims, we should examine how Islam treats minorities in the nations it controls, nations like Pakistan for instance. Pakistan is, as well as being a shithole, a prime example of the case that when Muslims are in the minority, then rights for religious minorities are a good thing, but when Islam governs and is the majority then minority rights and protections do not exist. Pakistan could have been a functioning, well governed, pluralistic state, but it could not become so because Islam, the governing ideology of Pakistan has comprehensively ruined the country.