Kasur (Agenzia Fides) – The choice was to convert to Islam or face ongoing violence and harassment: is what happened to Christian Patras Hanif, father of five children, victim of abuse where he worked. Patras, a worker on a construction site in Multan, in Punjab, was constantly threatened, discriminated and tortured psychologically by other workers, who wanted to convert him to Islam. Patras, exhausted, even considered suicide. "They very often called me 'kafir', which means unfaithful, and they threatened me that they would resort to false accusations of blasphemy if I refused to convert to Islam", said Patras to Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, to whom he has asked legal assistance.
"Extremism, hatred, motivated only by a different faith, preconceived hostility: this is the suffering Christians in Pakistan go through. Islamic extremist groups would like to eliminate Christianity and other religions.
"This extremism is the cause of the exodus of religious minorities in Pakistan. Political leaders and Muslim religious leaders should publicly discourage these attitudes and start a more ambitious program of religious harmony, recalling that all citizens have equal rights and dignity", concluded Gill. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 03/02/2016)