Why was this Christian boy beaten for drinking water from a mosque?

Published: December 2, 2016
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News and images of Pakistani Christians being beaten up or being wrongly prosecuted are not surprising for the Pakistani public, especially since Pakistan ranks number six on the Open Doors World Watch List for Christian prosecution. Verily, one cannot turn a blind eye to such violence when it takes place so often.

With the growing intolerance rate in Pakistan, many members belonging to minority groups continue to pay the price for acts they don’t even know constitute as crimes. And, realistically, they aren’t.

A couple of days ago, a Christian boy was shown to be brutally beaten up in a video for allegedly drinking water from a fountain located inside a mosque. Are these the consequences of him accessing a public facility which provides the most basic utility for survival? Is being physically assaulted in public by self-proclaimed Muslim men who took it upon themselves to punish an innocent person for stepping into a Muslim place of worship and sharing their water justified?

The video shows the boy yelling and screaming from pain after being whipped with wooden sticks and being beaten with shoes.

Evidently, in the Christian context, the root causes of the anxieties of the community owe it to the actions of common Pakistanis. However, there are many other non-violent forms of discrimination Christians have to tolerate on a daily basis, such as poor or no access to education, lack of employment opportunities, and hurdles in social mobility. Many employers prefer Christians for sanitation jobs, and advertise for those jobs as open only to non-Muslims (read: Christians wanted). For instance, the derogatory term “churha” (sweepers) is commonly used to describe Christians.

In fact, it’s important to take into account the impacts of both class and religion in order to understand the discrimination the Christian community faces. Caste-based discrimination has existed in this part of the world for years, so to say that religious intolerance is the only factor contributing to their discrimination is very limiting.

These negative perceptions have created a dangerous situation for the peace and security of Pakistan’s Christian community. The suffering they face and how they are viewed by the mainstream Muslim population can be measured by the horrendous conditions with which they must compete on a daily basis. Forced marriage and conversion to Islam are some of the worst kinds of challenges they encounter.

The mistreatment of minorities is a stain on the wider Pakistani society. Even though terrorists are the most violent troublemakers, it is the public attitude that indicates minorities as targets for militants. Perhaps, Pakistan can be made a safer country by killing militants but ultimately this move will not really change the lives of those who have to live with dehumanising stereotypes every day. Until their fundamental rights are not widely recognised and granted, and such tensions are not resolved, Pakistan will continue to be at the frontline for violating, assaulting and prosecuting Christians.

This video shows one of the many violations that take place against the Christian community in Pakistan. However, other such countless incidents are not reported, filmed, nor made viral on social media platforms.

Therefore, as Pakistan persists to fight extremism, it needs to comprehend that military interventions are not enough.

In regards to the hoopla surrounding the authenticity of the said incident (video), the matter of fact is that the young boy was beaten up by a mob. Whether it was because he drank water from a mosque or stole a car battery, mob justice is not justice. Instead of questioning the reason behind his bruises, a little empathy towards our minorities could go a long way.

Purniya Awan

Purniya Awan

The writer is a Gender Studies graduate from York University, has been nominated as a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum, is a former member of Youth Parliament Pakistan and is a founding member of Courting The Law. She is a women's rights activist and frequently writes on feminist and human rights issues. She tweets @purniyaA (twitter.com/PurniyaA?lang=en)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Thomas

    The muslims comes to Christian lands and beg for work, They have to have mosques and all other facilities.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    How come we never read these stories in Indian news papers? Why are Indian news papers and media suppressing these human rights violations for years? Is it not double standards?Recommend

  • Zubair Khan

    Mind set problem. Few decades back used to hear “Chouhrra Eisai” So from very outset if you are brought up in a society where degrading followers of other religions is common how things can improve. Unfortunately respect of humanity has fallen so low that no light is seen at the end of the tunnel. As long revolution does not take place in educational system current mind set will prevail.
    Religious clerics who are at fore front to lead such mind set, how they beg and bow their heads to Christians when they are in Western countries is worth seeing.Recommend

  • Aamir – Toronto

    I hope the culprits are apprehended and treated the same way as they treated this poor kid…..who are these vigilantes and who gave them the right to beat up a kid for drinking a water from Masjid……he is a human first !!!!Recommend

  • umair qureshi

    Writer should have done her research. This was vigilante justice for stealing a car battery. Didnt have to do much with religion.Recommend

  • Jb

    Red salute for you , i want cogratulate you for your foolish comment Yogi Berra sahb. Thank you so much for reminding us about india. I think it enough for your kindness . you can not justify a crime with crime ,whatsoever heppenig in india is a crime , which is happening at our land is also crime ,it should be important for us to cool down this fire which burning our home then we should move towards others. If you are right then someone narrow minded sitting in india make an justify crime which is happening in pakistan then your logic will justify that crime. Crime is crime may be happening any where in the world it can’t be justified.thank youRecommend

  • Tatom

    Fake story still got in… not sure howRecommend

  • Saleh Kakar

    For god sake, he was beaten for stealing a cars battery, still bad but please stop spreading fake news. He is clearly saying “k main lay kr nahi gya” stop making it controversial. RIP Media.Recommend

  • Waqar Omar

    Wow. Writer just used the video of a boy stealing batteries from car and got beaten (still condemnable) and wrote a false story.
    Anyone understanding Punjabi can hear the conversation in that video and see what actually happened. It was a case of stolen car batteries.
    No wonder, it’s in Tribune.Recommend

  • M I

    Why doesn’t Pakistan just kill and slaughter all Christians and be done with them instead of killing them slowly and torturing generation after generations? Would it not be more efficient for Muslims and more human for the Christians? Killing two birds with one stone – pun intended?Recommend

  • BoiiBuddy

    So you’re saying we should hide our issues and concerns (which has been a major cause of us not progressing) and simply focus on the good part rather than the bad part..just because it reflects our bad image? How about we instead take a stand to stop it? because that is something we don’t.
    The double standards are, when we praise ourselves, when in reality, we are messed up.

    P.s you must have not read a lot of Indian newspapers..they often showcase the bad that doesn’t even existRecommend

  • numbersnumbers

    See above where video of Christian being beaten was removed, however video of Muslim being beaten in west would never be removed!Recommend

  • wb

    That is only when they’re in minority. Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon were all Christian majority countries .

    Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Palestine were all Jewish majority country before 7th century when a group of people came and spread.

    So, you have to take direct responsibility.Recommend

  • Kickass

    Tribune is an enemy agency working in Pakistan. PEMRA is too blind to close this NYTimes troll.Recommend

  • Ahsan siddiqui

    This is a HOAX … the boy is a Car battery thief .. caught by the shopkeeper … even in the clip the man is saying “i just took one disnt take the second one” and the shopkeeper wants him to confess the theft of the second battery as well … i am laughing at all this mindless propaganda without even listening to what is being said in the clip .. :)

    Here is the original >>> https://youtu.be/TGhvikOCRT8Recommend

  • Adnan Shahid

    While the main theme behind ur blog is commendable and there should be definite awareness of this barbaric and medieval nature of our society, what is more sad is that people like you do not even research or confirm the source from where you get your stories. Case in point, this was no Muslim moral police beating up a christian for ” drinking water from a mosque”, this was actually a couple of shopkeepers beating up a car battery thief in Gujranwala who had been regularly stealing batteries from their shops and was finally caught. So it would be appreciated if you people actually confirm the authencity of your stories before jumping on the bandwagon of moral blogs . its not just about selling the news, its about the truth as well. Recommend

  • Feroz

    Between reality and dreams there is a difference which only an open mind can recognize. Does the %age of minorities increasing since independence ring any bells ? Does an electorate with 80% Hindu’s sending Christians, Sikhs, Muslims to Parliament say anything ? Does the appointment of every minority as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, stink of religious discrimination ? Gross Human Rights violation definitely, if you are a Hindu fanatic.Recommend

  • Naeem

    Shame upon those so called Muslims who do not even understand Islam. These people who beat this Christian child because he dared to drink water in a Mosque are fake Muslims. They have no understanding of Islam or the Sunnah. For me these so called Muslims were nothing but irreligious people devoid of any humanity. Such a MOSQUE , cannot be a house of God if it is frequented by Satans. If I was anywhere near this incident , I would have beaten all these cowardly men with the same stick. Raising a hand against child who came to drink water is the work of Satan.Recommend

  • Shahid

    I don’t know why ET likes to act like a ridiculous media outlet. Apparently, the Young free thinkers of our society don’t even confirm the news and start bashing the whole majority for the acts of few. This guy was beaten for stealing a car battery, and not for drinking water. Before jumping to conclusions and implying different things, you should confirm a news or else your degree from whichever university it is, doesn’t even matter.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Why was this Christian boy beaten for drinking water from a mosque?

    To comply with the talibanized ideology of Pakistan Recommend

  • Anon

    Thank you for not making me a Muslim.Recommend

  • Arif Shaffi

    Get your facts right Express Tribune, you spreading hatred. Shame on you. He was beaten for stealing batteries and not for drinking water from the mosque.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    For Indian newspapers, Pakistan is a very secular and peaceful state. These incidents are not visible. Recommend

  • Amir

    We muslims have become animals and we treat our minorities worse than animal. Intolerance levels are high, mob mentality prevalent everywhere This is a failure not of the government, but our judiciary system which does not punish such people. Judges and LEA are corrupt to the bone, and wants to milk both victim and the persecutor for their own personal gain.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Subcontinent Christian also paid a major role in the creation of Pakistan, just like Dalits that is true but Pakistan was created for subcontinent Muslims only. Now if Pakistani Christians are having problem then they are free to move to India.

    There is no concept or rights for minorities in Islam. Love Jihad is part of Islam and forced conversion via marriage/abduction is happening since advent of Islam on subcontinent. Love Jihad is still very low in Pakistan compared to Jordan where Christians reduced from 30% to 5%.

    Christians are still lucky in Pakistan compared to what happened to them in Turkey and happening in Iraq/middle east.

    Forced conversion via marriage of Christians is worst in Indian state of Kerala.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    Cant wait to move out of my joint family system and live in isolation in mountains of Hunza.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    Go ask the people who beated the kid instead of trying to turn this into a national issue and attracting negative publicity in the world.

    Its because of people like you hellbent on portraying a negative image of pakistan that investors refuse to come here. Shame on you. Its your duty as a citizen of this country to see your country in a positive light.

    Last time I checked, with 100 anti muslim bigoted acts that have happened in your beloved USA since TRUMP won, not a single person of a sane mind came forward to write a blog on new york express tribune to rant about how they need to do more to protect minorities rights in USA so why should we?

    You need to stop misrepresenting the actual issue and dont blow it out of the proportions.Recommend

  • Zahid Akhtar

    Highlighting such a tiny point here is not praiseworthiness. Recommend

  • Purna Tripathy

    “Caste based discrimination existed…”. Why only Indians especially Hindus blamed for it. I have read many Pakistani posts taking high moral ground on the subject. You too do it.Recommend

  • genesys

    The Muslims want to study in Christian schools,colleges or at least should have christian names.They will go to christian hospitals for treatment and are willing to migrate to christian lands for jobs and settling down permanently and yet attack Christians.this is nothing but discrimination on caste basis and shout at India as caste based.Recommend

  • Shabbat ali

    When such is the matter, why should anybody show pity on Muslims being insulted, kicked, shamed in US and other countries. Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    Thank you and God bless you for taking this up on behalf of Christians.Recommend

  • http://www.umalik.com/ Usman

    It says that the video has breached terms hence removed. But going with the thumbnail on the Facebook – the video is of a boy being beaten in an inhumane manner while being accused of stealing battery! Where are you getting mosque water story from?Recommend

  • SRK

    Isolation? Not in Hunza, I am already here … but you are welcome to my abode.Recommend

  • Sane

    Purniya Awan: Please also about how many Muslims were beaten just because they look like Muslim in the country where you live now and how many Muslims were murdered in India just for being Muslim. Please write something about these as well to show you do not have a biased version.Recommend

  • Sane

    Why don’t you talk about hate crimes against Muslims in west and in India?Recommend

  • Sane

    That is called ‘journalism’ in today’s worldRecommend

  • Phil McDonald

    Youtube will block these videos.

    Here are a couple links that still remain online.

    https://youtu.be/D0g8m4xfAgE

    https://youtu.be/lz6PpPAACqc

    Recommend

  • midnighteye

    Because of the huge number of crimes against all non Muslims all over the world. One does not contemplate a single grain of sand when one is confronted by a desert.Recommend

  • Sane

    The boy was beaten for stealing a car battery not for drinking water. Se the video before you write. Also tell about beating and intimidating Muslims in USA, Europe and Canada.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    JB: There are set of Red Brigade in India which bad mouth Hindus and India and always encourage talks with Pakistan. They also conveniently overlook Islamic atrocities and instead calls signs of invasion as syncratic culture and what not. They talk till they froth in mouth on Muzzafarnagar riots but maintain studied silence on the plight of Kashmiri Pundits. These red brigade occupies seats in media and academia. They suppress all contrarian ideas. Even capitalism is not acceptable to them. Onlyh socialism. They say it is now in constitution and that is the only syetem allowed. Anyway their hypocrisy and double standards is giving rise to Hindu right. But I do not see any change in their shameful ways.Recommend

  • Aamir – Toronto

    @Sane…..I guess, you didn’t get the gist of my comments !!!1Recommend

  • Sarah Sajid

    Doesn’t really justify anything. Not the violence against Muslims nor the Non-Muslims. You cannot look at one side of the coin. Just as much as Non-Muslims are being victims of hate crime, Muslims are victims in majority of hate crimes too. Makes you think what is really going on. It is the human that acts on will, not the religion that is there for guidance, not brutality. We are messed up. As humans more than as Muslims or otherwise.Recommend

  • Eddied

    when last I checked that is not a misrepresentation of the facts…Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    IT ISRecommend

  • LS

    Tell that to those who kill for religion every week, bombing, shooting and dozens die… Every week! This has been happening since last 4 decades. No other religion has done that. The religion that was borne out of a war, spread by war and torture continues to spread the same message. Every week! So there is little comparison or equality.Recommend

  • LS

    They will only worry if some muslim is beaten in India.. else everything is routine. I still remember the Christian couple who were burn alive under the pretext of blasphemy laws by the locals themselves where the local mosque played a major role.

    In Sindh mosques have targets every year to convert local hindu population forcibly, they kidnap them, rape them and convert them, kill them routinely. According to Sindhi Hindu law minister 5000 Hindu girls go through this kidnap/rape/conversion cycle and sometimes they are sold to brothels.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/08/forced-conversions-torment-pakistan-hindus-201481795524630505.html

    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/30248/my-journey-as-a-pakistani-hindu/

    Yet their heart only aches if a muslim is mistreated in west or faces slight injustice in India or gets killed somewhere (even if they were KNOWN terrorists – like Burhan wani, they will eulogize terrorists like OBL, the turk who shot the ambassador)

    Yet they want all facilities, equal treatment, Sharia law, Hijab, niqab, ban pork in schools, prayer halls in the name of democracy, equal rights.

    pathetic just pathetic.Recommend

  • salman

    Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the author’s message and agenda. However I believe the article lacks a little neutrality.

    Take for example, the mention of derogatory words ‘Chura’ or ‘Bhangi’. Chura is a Hindu caste which traditionally occupied the role of sweepers. The caste belongs to the offensively named ‘untouchables’ category. In Pakistani Punjab 90-95% of its Christian population are from the Chura caste. [Phan, P.C. (2011). Christianities in Asia. John Wiley & Sons. p. 25. ISBN 1405160896.] To claim that such discrimination in Pakistan against Christians or the caste system itself has any roots in Islam is absolutely incorrect. From my personal experience unsurprisingly, a lot of Pakistani Hindus do not know much about this either. A tradition blindly inherited from ancient times.

    More importantly, a lot of people are unaware just as I once was too, that the term ‘Chura’ is derogatory. I was late made aware of this by my parents when the hear me using it to refer to some of the local kids. Similarly, I once set out to complain to our cantonment that the ‘Bhangis’ hadn’t sweeped the streets for a week. Imagine my surprise when I was informed by our local cantonment that the correct term to use is ‘kachra uthanay wala’ since Bhangi is a offensive term.

    In favor of neutrality, it should have also been mentioned that such extremism is the the norm but the exception. One of the caretakers of my local mosque for example, is a Christian and maintains the mosque’s drinking water dispenser and filters. Most residents share drinking glasses with him and no one bats an eye about the ancient Hindu concept of ‘jhoota’.

    A lot of, or dare I say most Christian missionary schools in my city (Karachi) are quite popular amongst our Muslim majority population, making it quite obvious that not all minorities are openly persecuted our cities.

    While these issues often seem Black and White, i believe that the solution lies first in recognizing that this problem in actuality lies in a grey are.Recommend