KARACHI: Fishel Benkhald, a ‘Jewish’ activist in Pakistan was allegedly reported to have been beaten by a Muslim mob on Wednesday after which he was arrested and mistreated by the police Arutz Sheva reported.
Benkhald leads a one-man campaign to preserve an old Jewish cemetery in Karachi and has been a vocal activist for minorities’ rights in the country where minorities like Christians, Hindus and non-Sunni Muslims are frequently persecuted.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Benkhald gave an account of the incident in which he had agreed to have a one-on-one debate on minority rights with a Muslim Pakistani man following a discussion on the topic on Twitter initially.
“I was debating over Twitter with a young educated Pakistani Muslim that non-Muslim Pakistanis should be allowed in theory to be elected president according to our constitution,” he said.
He added that “the discussion was purely theoretical given that non-Muslims account for only around 3% of the Pakistani population.”
Benkhald then suggested that the two continue the debate in person and planned to meet at a restaurant in Karachi. However, on his arrival at the restaurant, Benkhald was ambushed by the man and his friends.
“I went there alone but he was with his friends, we started the debate in a normal discussion manner but soon it got heated up and cursing started,” he said.
At that point, a “mob” began to gather around him “and two of the guys who were with him started manhandling me – I should have left at that time,” he added.
Giving a detailed explanation he said “They started punching me and when I fell they started kicking my head. Someone also tried to snatch away my mobile.”
Benkhald managed to make a video after the attack and posted it to his Twitter account in which he gave an account of how he was treated by the mob.
“They have hit me, they have threatened me, they have pushed me and they have cursed me,” he said in his video.
Police then reportedly arrived at the scene, blindfolded him and took him away leaving the rest at the scene.
He was then allegedly handed over to the Pakistan’s Rangers paramilitary force, who continued to question him about his ethnic origins and went through his social media accounts after allegedly demanding for his passwords.
They further accused him of being a spy for either Israel, US or India, according to Benkhald.
He was released eventually after his brother intervened and bailed him out. Benkhald was left with a swollen eye and bruising.
Regardless of the ordeal Benkhald experienced, he did admit that his decision to agree to a personal debate in a restaurant was unwise. He has also said that he will tone down his online activism for fear of his safety.