A Pakistani Christian man was murdered and his Muslim friend was severely beaten after they told "Muslim drug dealers" to leave children in their village alone, a Christian advocacy group claims.
Nazeer Masih, 55, and Mohammad Nawaz, a 40-year-old Muslim man, were in a field on the night of April 6 when "two known persons" attacked the men with a knife and an iron rod, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association.
The group claims the attackers are drug dealers who killed Masih in retaliation for telling them to "leave the young Christians in his community alone." The attackers allegedly slashed Masih's throat and wounded Nawaz, who was able to escape and run for help, the association said.
By the time villagers reached Masih, the Christian man was dead; others helped Nawaz get to a nearby hospital, according to the association.
A local pastor, identified as Alfred Azam, told the British Pakistani Christian Association that the murder was part of ongoing struggles between people in the Christian communities and Muslim drug dealers.
Azam told the association:
This is not the first incident of persecution of Christians in our village, local Muslims are always creating problems for our Christian community. Before and after our church services Muslim drug dealers swarm around our church trying to sell drugs to our vulnerable youth. Some drug pushers move around in Christian residential areas and beat young Christians forcing them to take drugs in an attempt to get them addicted. When our older men tell these criminals to leave our young people alone they get killed.
The British Pakistani Christian Association was soliciting funds to help Masih's family, help cover funeral costs, and for an attorney "to challenge for justice for the family." Local police said they had launched an investigation and were looking for a suspect, but the association said "Christians believe senior police officials have been bribed to remain dormant" and stall the investigation.
Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA, said:
The coercing of vulnerable Christians and other minority youth into drug addiction, often by force, has developed wealthy Muslim drug lords who continue to target such vulnerable communities. Their success and accumulated wealth has given them great power, often with authority over police forces who turn a blind eye to their crimes on the offer of rishwat [bribes]. This influence to murder [with] impunity is devastating for Christians and must be met with the full force of the law for the sake of justice.
Source: British Pakistani Christian Association / Photo credit: British Pakistani Christian Association via Christian Today