ASIA/PAKISTAN - A teacher of Islam among the group of Muslim fundamentalists who inflicted mortal torture on young Catholic Javed Anjum, victim of Muslim intolerance

Tuesday, 18 May 2004

Faisalabad (Agenzia Fides) - Pursue legally those responsible for the murder, pray for all victims of fanaticism and intolerance. These two commitment were taken by Catholics in Pakistan following the death of a young Catholic boy Javed Anjum who died after being brutally tortured by Muslim fundamentalists in an attempt to make him renounce his faith in Christ.
“We are deeply grieved but our faith is unshaken. The community is shocked but edified by the Javed’s example”, Bishop Mons, Joseph Coutts, told Fides illustrating the local Church’s plans for the coming months.
“One the one hand we are offering all the necessary support to help Javed’s family in legal action against those responsible for the crime. This was murder and the perpetrators must be pursued and punished with the instruments of law and justice. The local police have arrested one suspect a Muslim religious teacher and the Justice and Peace Commission of our Bishops; Conference will follow the case closely and give the necessary support ” the Bishop told Fides. The man taken in custody is Ghulam Rasool, who teaches at the Jamia Hassan Bin Murtaza Koranic school in the village of Tarandi, near Toba Tek Sing, where Javed Anjum was tortured for five day.
The Bishop said the campaign of prayer and sensitisation goes ahead: “The community prays for its martyrs. Recently in Pakistan there have been serious episodes of intolerance and religious fanaticism against Christians, especially in our diocese of Faisalabad. For the beginning of June we are preparing a prayer vigil to commemorate those who died for the faith. Last year we lost one of our priests Father George Ibrahim ”.
In the meantime various NGOs have joined the local Church in denouncing the suffering of Christians in Muslim countries and episodes of anti-Christian violence and intolerance at the world level.
Javed, aged 19 was from Quetta. He died on 2 May at Faisalabad hospital of 26 knife wounds inflicted by teachers and students at an Islamic school five days earlier. On 17 April Javed was in Toba Tek Singh, 310 km south of Islamabad. He was walking along a street and had just passed the Jamia Hassan bin Almurtaza Koranic school when he was suddenly surrounded and abducted by a teacher and a group of students from the school. He was tortured for 5 and in the end his condition was so serious that his aggressors took him to the nearest police station and reported that he had been caught stealing. The police took the boy immediately to hospital but the doctors were unable to save him and he died of his wounds. His funeral on May 6 was presided by Bishop Joseph Coutts, Bishop of Faisalabad. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 18/5/2004 lines 43 words 437)