‘Don’t burn this house. It belongs to a Muslim’

Published: March 30, 2013
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They fled the locality during the riots after the police assured them that they would protect properties. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ / EXPRESS

They fled the locality during the riots after the police assured them that they would protect properties. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ / EXPRESS

They fled the locality during the riots after the police assured them that they would protect properties. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ / EXPRESS In the aftermath, the fear is now even more deeply embedded into the community’s psyche. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ / EXPRESS
LAHORE: 

While most of the two hundred houses set on fire in Joseph Colony have been rebuilt, the shattered confidence of the residents will take more time to be picked up.

Nevy Samuel, 28, was one of the inhabitants who saw her house attacked by angry mob over an alleged act of blasphemy committed by Sawan Masih.

“It’s not easy being a Christian. All my life, I have heard remarks like ‘woh dekho, eesai guzar rahi hai’ (look, that’s a Christian passing by),” she says. “But this incident has brought the (level of) discrimination to a peak.”

In the aftermath, the fear is now even more deeply embedded into the community’s psyche.

“Though everything is normal now, I feel that simply being a Christian is an invitation to danger,” says Samuel. “When I pass through the lanes without my husband, my heart keeps pounding because of fear.”

Samuel is a mother to a four-month-old daughter – a normal, contributing member to society. Yet, now she feels like a second-class citizen.

“We were told by some Muslim neighbours that our house had burnt to the ground. They advised us not to come back. When we finally did, all we found were ashes,” she recalls. “This happened just because I am a Christian. Being a Christian isn’t a crime, is it?”

According to Samuel, they fled the locality during the riots after the police assured them that they would protect properties.

The chants and loud proclamations they were subjected to while escaping – we will get rid of Christians, we will teach them a lesson – still ring in her ears.

Sixteen-year-old Junaid Patras also belongs to the Badami Bagh area, home to a generally lower income group.

“I saw people burning our house before my very own eyes,” said Patras. “They wanted to burn us in the house but some Muslim friends managed to get us out in time. My father suffered a mental shock and, since then, hasn’t regained his senses.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Maher
    Mar 30, 2013 - 10:35AM

    It is so so sad to hear this..
    Btw my question, if some one attacks you or your property , is it legal to beat someone in defense? If yes, than from no onward any one who attacks us/ our property we should beat them and teach them that property is earned by working very hard and no one has the right to destroy it.

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  • Cacha
    Mar 30, 2013 - 10:52AM

    What about the burning houses of Muslims in Burma???

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  • Queen
    Mar 30, 2013 - 11:21AM

    It is indeed sad. The religious discrimination existing society has really made lives difficult for people with different religious beliefs. We need to understand that they are human beings and Pakistanis like us and they have all the right to live freely as we do as Muslims.

    However this line :
    Patras. “They wanted to burn us in the house but some Muslim friends managed to get us out in time.

    It proves that not all Muslims are religious fanatics.

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  • Farahnaz
    Mar 30, 2013 - 12:14PM

    Express Tribune has run many stories recently about the plight of Rohingya Muslim refugess in Bangladesh. This should not be done to anyone @Cacha:

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  • Mustafa alvi
    Mar 30, 2013 - 12:33PM

    @Cacha:
    I dont mean to offend you in anyway! But we need to treat others right before we can expect anyone to do the same for us! Thats what islam teaches is! So instead of talking about burma we need to fix pakistan first!

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  • Justice
    Mar 30, 2013 - 2:23PM

    @chacha
    Regardless of the incidents in Burma i think that these houses should not have been burnt. I think you are also one of the extremist muslim who wants to tak revenge by burning others’ home.

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  • Farhan Rizvi
    Mar 30, 2013 - 2:43PM

    I’ll try to keeo my views as docile as possible but I doubt that will happen.

    What happened in Joseph colony was no less then tragic. Watching your house burn right infront of your eyes is a sight unimaginable. But people are viewing only one side of the coin.
    When I saw the headline of the article I couldnt help but smile. It seems people forgot that while Christians are only watching their house burn, people of the Hazara community and Shia’s are watching their children burn right infront of their eyes. Joseph colony is up and running, houses rebuilt. But neighbourhood of Ghazi colony in Karachi still resembles a war zone. Only upside of this incident was that these people got their houses back. Maybe one or two would be thanking the arsonists for burning the houses. They got free renovations. But you cannot bring back thousands of men of Hazara community or the people who were butchered after terrorists checked their ID cards and found their names to be Ali or Abbass.
    No you cant.

    Apparently only people safe in the country are the Mullas and the people who follow them. If you are Shia, Hindu or a Christian, you better watch out because one day you’ll wake up from the screams of your family or your friends, while people would only watch and say, ” Yaar bauhat afsos hua..”Recommend

  • Ahmadi Muslim
    Mar 30, 2013 - 3:58PM

    The problem is not just the inhuman blasphemy law. The real problem is the hate and intolerance that have been nurtured in the hearts of the “certified Muslims” of Pakistan against those who do not share their ideology. Let’s be honest, Pakistani Certified Muslims in general hate non-muslims so much that they are fond of calling muslims as non-muslims for that very reason.

    It is naive to have a law that discriminate among the same citizens of a country and expect that this will not be followed by violence and persecution.

    Laws will have to change for sure, but more pressingly people in Pakistan will have to change first and become more human and less evil. Then only you can start reaping the benefit of “love for all”

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  • SIdrah
    Mar 30, 2013 - 5:33PM

    @Farhan Rizvi
    The only reason no one died is because the local people, police knew the mob was coming the next day and fled.
    Unfortunately I think kay agli dafa wo bata kar nahi aayingei. And we will have repeat’s of Gojra over and over again.
    I’m not Indian but what I find amusing is that Pakistani’s still use incidents like Gujrat to taunt Indians. When we ourselves have Badai Bagh, Gojra, Abbas town, Hazara killings everyday.

    @Cahcha
    So due to what happens in another country it’s okay to harm your own Pakistani brothers. This is the mentality which actually starts incidents like this.

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  • someone
    Mar 30, 2013 - 6:54PM

    @Cacha:
    The ones burning the houses of Muslims in Myanamar , are buddhists not Christians. Now going by your logic, should Christians in Europe and US burn Muslims houses there since Muslims burnt Christian houses?

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 30, 2013 - 7:27PM

    @Cacha:

    What about the burning houses of
    Muslims in Burma???

    Ever heard the phrase “chip on the shoulder”? It’s generally indicative of inferiority complex.

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  • Concerned
    Mar 30, 2013 - 9:50PM

    @Cacha:
    Do you imply that what happens in Burma somehow makes this acceptable?

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  • Sharp eye
    Mar 30, 2013 - 11:26PM

    @Ahmadi Muslim:
    One thing is Clear that Ahamadi is also a Non muslim clear by Constitution of Islamic republic of Pakistan but the same time Thay have a rights to live in Pakistan.

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  • AHMADI MUSLIM
    Mar 31, 2013 - 12:43AM

    @Sharp eye:

    This is exactly the attitude that I tried to explain. It is not the responsibility of the Constitution of Pakistan to decide who is a Muslim or whether your wife is really your wife or whether you are a man or a woman. When a country, out of hatred for a difference in theology with a section of society, promulgates discriminatory laws, violence and persecution soon follows. Thats why Pakistan is in the current state it finds itself. Nothing will change for the better in this country until it rewrites its constitution.

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  • Ahfaz
    Mar 31, 2013 - 10:54PM

    @Cacha:
    Is that a justification for burning some one houses?

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  • sinn sal
    Apr 8, 2013 - 3:51PM

    @Cacha: Stop worrying about Burma. there’s a fire in your house and your worry bout Burma.

    Recommend

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