‘Honour at stake’: Love in the time of blasphemy

Published: September 29, 2012
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The accused boy, Chand Masih, has sent a court order and certificate of his conversion to Islam to the police station, said Raiyya police chief Amanat Ali. PHOTO: FILE

The accused boy, Chand Masih, has sent a court order and certificate of his conversion to Islam to the police station, said Raiyya police chief Amanat Ali. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: 

In a village in Narowal district, a Muslim girl and a Christian boy decided to elope.

Now, in the aftermath, 30 Christian families are on the run.

Sana, 23, and Chand Masih, 25, eloped from their houses in Gadowal village on September 21, and went to an undisclosed location. The girl’s family searched for her for two days before a local cleric decided to intervene, and turn the heat on the entire Christian community.

Local clerics, under the leadership of Maulana Amjad Farooqi, reached the girl’s residence and convinced her father to take a firm stand against the Christians who, Farooqi claimed, had “pre-planned” the event.

Following that, a large number of people gathered in the village, called out the Christians of the locality, and warned them to bring back the eloped couple or else their houses would be burnt down.

Christians flee

The Christians fled the village and the locals locked their houses behind them. The area’s Muslim population also took the cattle of the family of Chand Masih into their custody.

After two days, they traced a few members of the fleeing Christian community and asked them to bring back the eloped couple. When the families expressed their inability to trace the couple due to lack of finances, the Muslims sold a cow of the accused boy’s family for Rs30,000, and gave the family Rs10,000 to trace the couple.

Teaching them a lesson

Maulana Farooqi confirmed that a cow had been sold to trace the couple, while speaking to The Express Tribune.

He said he openly warned the Christians that they have already “hurt their [Muslims’] sentiments by releasing the blasphemous movie [The Innocence of Muslims] and now with this step, they have added fuel to the fire.”

Farooqi said in case they do not bring back the girl, “it would take 10 minutes to teach a lesson to the Christians” of the locality.

He said they had arrested one man, who was purportedly in contact with the accused, but the police released him. He added that the girl’s father is bound not to take any step without the clerics’ consent.

Fear spreads

The incident took place in Gadowal village, where only 15 Christian families are residing, but some families of adjoining villages have also fled after the threats, said Irfan Gill, a member of the Christian community, while speaking to The Express Tribune.

He said the Christians of the locality went to the influential Muslims in the area once, and apologised in return for their safety, but the Muslims were firm that they want the accused boy.

Boy converts to Islam

The accused boy, Chand Masih, has sent a court order and certificate of his conversion to Islam to the police station, said Raiyya police chief Amanat Ali.

The court order says the girl married of her own choosing, and no one had kidnapped or compelled her to do so, he added.

Ali said the girl’s family was initially not keen on registering an FIR, but one was lodged nonetheless against three Christians. The girl administered intoxicants to her family through food at night and eloped with the boy, he added.

Community blamed for individuals

Human Liberation Commission of Pakistan chief Aslam Parvez Sahotra condemned the incident and termed it “a tool for victimisation of Christians”.

The Christian community held protests alongside  Muslim against the sacrilegious film but is still held responsible for the act of a single individual, he said.

Law-enforcement agencies must protect the minorities from communal punishments, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Tariq
    Sep 29, 2012 - 7:22AM

    So much for tolerance and the peace all these so called muslims talk about

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  • Virkaul
    Sep 29, 2012 - 9:54AM

    Deplorable!

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  • muter
    Sep 29, 2012 - 10:42AM

    love in the time of blasphemy – witty title, and a remembrance that marquez was probably inspired by what we see on a daily basis :)

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  • Mehboob
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:00AM

    Authorities should ensure the safety of our Christian brothers and sisters in that locality and warn sternly those clerics who are giving this hateful messages. Please help make my Pakistan a better place to live… please!!!

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  • Muhammad Haris
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Love in the battlefield?

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  • sh(india)
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:27AM

    this is the same situation in india and the west. muslims never allow their women to be married outside their religion.no respect to other religion’s males.

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  • Z.Khan
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:28AM

    Report of Et contains, “Maulana Farooqi confirmed that a cow had been sold to trace the couple, while speaking to The Express Tribune.He said he openly warned the Christians that they have already “hurt their [Muslims’] sentiments by releasing the blasphemous movie [The Innocence of Muslims] and now with this step, they have added fuel to the fire.”Farooqi said in case they do not bring back the girl, “it would take 10 minutes to teach a lesson to the Christians” of the locality.He said they had arrested one man, who was purportedly in contact with the accused, but the police released him. He added that the girl’s father is bound not to take any step without the clerics’ consent”.
    Few questions to so called Maulana Farooqi.
    1. How sale of cow will help to trace the couple?
    2. What connections innocence of Muslims has with this marriage?
    3. What lessons you have up in arms to teach to Christians in 10 minutes?
    4. Which law or Shria has empowered you to over rule the rights of girls father?
    It looks the cleric is the mighty ruler in this incident. No writ of government, court or of any other law enforcing agency. Even boy converted to Islam the cleric will not accept as he can say he did it to avoid punishment. Person like me can only comment “What a country! Pakistan Zndabad.”

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  • Selvam
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:35AM

    For “honour” read: male Ego fed from child birth through local culture.

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  • DarKnight
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:56AM

    This is how they respect other religions and their followers by intimidating and threatening and expect the world to show respect to their religion and their prophet.

    The biggest mistake the Christians and Hindus did was to believe in speech of Mr. Jinnah and choose to remain in Pakistan. They would have understand long back that how they can practice their faith freely in a country which came into existence on the basis of a religion. It is simply “Impossible.”

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  • BlackJack
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:56AM

    I assume that this conversion was also due to sudden love and admiration for the religion, and not to save his own skin? But yet, there is no compulsion in Islam.

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  • Waqas
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:57AM

    Thats why there can never eer equal rights for minorities in Islamic countries! Equal means marrying anyone of your choic without dropping your religion or converting to other religion!

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  • rz
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:59AM

    i like this boy…..and intoxication plan was basic yet brilliant…!!!

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  • behram
    Sep 29, 2012 - 12:31PM

    unfortunately the way you reported this news makes more trouble.

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  • A
    Sep 29, 2012 - 12:57PM

    @rz: nice comment

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  • RK Singh
    Sep 29, 2012 - 1:19PM

    This couple are in serious trouble. They cannot last more than a month in Pakistan. They should be given refuge in India.

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  • Rawal John
    Sep 29, 2012 - 2:42PM

    Now the news make more news more news more news & then claim down

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  • lib
    Sep 29, 2012 - 3:09PM

    “The girl administered intoxicants to her family through food at night and eloped with the boy” does that still work? That is the only crime she committed and.should be charged under.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 29, 2012 - 3:25PM

    “they have already “hurt their [Muslims’] sentiments by releasing the blasphemous movie [The Innocence of Muslims]” Guilty by association? Similar sentiments were in Europe before the holocaust.

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  • Mj
    Sep 29, 2012 - 4:49PM

    Extreme level of hypocrisy. People would have been distributing sweets if the groom was a muslim male who had married (with or without consent), and converted, a nonmuslim girl. Will the same people also defend the right of this couple to live their life in peace?

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  • STFU
    Sep 29, 2012 - 6:38PM

    What would the minorities do without free media? We stand by the boy and girl who have every right to marry whoever they want and demand arrest of local cleric for fueling hatred

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  • Humble Pakistani
    Sep 29, 2012 - 6:57PM

    Where is the law in all this? I know this mullah does not even know Islam so I will pass on him… But Pakistan has law that can protect its minorioes it have the will to do so? That is the question!ties from these lynchpins? DWhere is the law in all this? I know this mullah is illiterate and does not even know Islam so I will pass on him… But Pakistan has law that can protect its minorities. Does it have the will to do so from these lynchpins? That is the question!

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  • Striver
    Sep 29, 2012 - 7:00PM

    Whatever happened to the Islamic concept of Haqooq-ul-Ibaad…. you won’t catch any Mullah or Maulana preaching the corner stone of Islam, tolerance, human rights.

    God has palced Haqqo-Ul-Ebaad above everything else. Muslims will do well to remember that.

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  • ahmed41
    Sep 29, 2012 - 7:05PM

    @Waqas:
    Yes , you are RIGHT.

    FURTHER , i for one fail to understand how anyone can so easily convert to Islam .

    Why is the mere verbal repetition of the standard dogma of Islamic faith , taken at face value.

    In my , stupid opinion, my faith and its spiritual content MUST have some depth and an experience of the true spirituality of FAITH , before i am allowed to *embrace Islam *.

    Why is this *conversion process * so quick and easy ~~~~~like changing ones favoutite
    brand of shirts for another !!!!

    i do not accept this .

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  • rashid khan
    Sep 29, 2012 - 7:57PM

    Those who have protested against this marriage and their aggressive manner threatening the minority community have a very valid point. I am sure incidents the kind occur in Inda and other western countreis but the blatant aggresive protest under the tutelge of over zealous protesters. Recommend

  • Insaan
    Sep 29, 2012 - 8:10PM

    Is Maya Khan going to do a show on this couple?

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  • papoo piplia
    Sep 30, 2012 - 2:12AM

    hmmm…this news in not in dawn or any other mainstream newspapers.

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  • rashid Khan
    Sep 30, 2012 - 8:39AM

    Wait for a few years and Maulvi Farooqi will be a rich man after he successfully grabs whatever little holdings the fleeing Christians left behind.
    As for the angered Muslims who feel dishonoured by the Christian boy marrying a Muslim girl, the world has other communities and religions too.
    Where was your sense of fair-play and the justice. as enshrined in Islam, when Hindu girls in Sindh were being kidnapped and married to Muslims? Did you’ll buy that crap about the girls converting to Islam of their own free will? How were the girls able to understand the religion and all it stands for within a few hours because only then would any decision taken by them be considered free and of there own will?

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  • gp65
    Sep 30, 2012 - 10:59AM

    @sh(india): “this is the same situation in india and the west. muslims never allow their women to be married outside their religion.no respect to other religion’s males.”

    Same situation does not prevail in India. I can name a lot of Muslim women who married Hindu men. Pandit Ravishankar’s first wife was his guru Ustad Allauddin’s daughter, Kishore Kumar and Sunil Dutt married Muslim women. Hrithik Roshan has married a Muslim woman, Farah Khan has married a Hindu man. Salman Khans sister Alvira Khan has married a Hindu (Atul Agnihotri. OF course reverse is also true. Many Muslim men have married Hindu women.

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  • Tanzeel
    Sep 30, 2012 - 3:46PM

    This Maulana needs to be tried in a court of law for inciting hatred and communal violence(don’t remember the exact articles of the penal code but I’m sure there are provisions in it for these particular crimes) and handed the harshest possible sentence. I for one wouldn’t shed too many tears if, while he’s imprisoned, some inmate decides that the Maulana’s continued existence is of no benefit to mankind and there’s no harm in ending it.Recommend

  • BobbiSue
    Oct 1, 2012 - 5:17AM

    These people won’t quit until this boy is dead.. and likely the girl also.

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