Page 4, 14th May 2004

14th May 2004
Page 4
Page 4, 14th May 2004 — Pakistan Christian teenager tortured to death by mob at Muslim seminary
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Pakistan Christian teenager tortured to death by mob at Muslim seminary

BY FREDDY GRAY

A MUSLIM MOB in Pakistan tortured a Christian teenager to death after he drank water from the tap of an Islamic seminary, it emerged this week.

Javaid Anjum, a 19-yearold student of commerce in Quetta, Eastern Pakistan, was tortured for five days. A gang of Islamic students gave him electric shocks, broke his arm and his fingers, and pulled out his fingernails. The electric shocks caused his kidneys to fail. He was taken to hospital, where doctors tried to keep him alive on dialysis machines, but he died earlier this month.

Mr Anjum had gone to visit his grandfather in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, and felt thirsty while at a bus stop. When he found a tap inside the compound of Jamia Hussainbin-Murtaza, an Islamic seminary, he drank from it. Immediately, he was accosted by Ghulam Rasool, a famous Islamic preacher, and a gang of his students.

Mr Anjum told them that he was Christian and not a thief. The Muslims’ response was to force him into the seminary. He was ordered to renounce Christianity and convert to Islam. When he refused, they began to torture him.

His battered body was handed over to the local police. Mr Rasool’s followers claimed that he had been trying to steal from the seminary, and said he had been using drugs. The police contacted Mr Anjum’s father, who arrived to find his son in a critical condition.

The Catholic bishops of Pakistan have taken up the case of Mr Anjum in their campaign to halt the persucution of Christians at the hands of Muslim fanatics. A National Commission for Justice and Peace, chaired by Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, said the murder was part of a worrying trend of religious persecution in Pakistan.

He said: “Religious intolerance and discrimination are the reasons behind the recent incidents where young nonMuslims were forcibly converted and circumcised.” The commission urged the government of Punjab province to “take long-term steps to root out religious hatred and (take) timely action against the perpetrators of hate crimes in accordance with the law.” The Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (Claas), a human rights charity based in England, this week called on the British Government to act swiftly to end the persecution.

Coordinator Nasir Saeed wrote to Foreign Office Minister Mike O’Brien and Dr Maleeha Lodhi, the High Commissioner for Pakistan in London. “Yet again we have cut and dried evidence of increasing hate crimes against Christians in Pakistan,” he said in his letter to Mr O’Brien. “Over the past few months there have been many other cases where Christians were tortured for the faith and forced to convert to Islam.” Mr Saeed explained that, although the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, had outlawed certain extremist groups, he had not arrested their leaders. He added: “The government has failed to protect Christians, who don’t feel themselves safe in and protected in the country.” Claas seeks the introduction of new laws in Pakistan, under which Christians would feel safe and “able to practise their religion in freedom, which is a basic right of every individual.”

BY CHRISTINA FARRELL

THEY ARE Swiss, Catholic, minimum height 5ft 7in, minimum age 19 years and dedicated to protecting the Pontiff.

Next year the Swiss Guard, famed for its colourful medieval uniform, will celebrate its 500th anniversary.

Today’s soldiers are an elite, highly-trained fight ing force responsible for the security of the Apostolic Palace, the entrances to the Vatican City and the safety of the Pope.

They are also exclusively male and — with no concessions to sexual equality — will remain so.

Speaking in Rome last week, the current commander of the Swiss Guard, Col Elmar Theodor Mader said there were no plans to allow women troops to join the papal protectorate.

“Not under my command,” he insisted.

Space constraints in the all-male dormitories and the male-dominated ecclesial environment in which the soldiers operate could lead to problems and jealousy in the ranks if women guards were admitted, the colonel said. The anniversary will be marked with a march from Switzerland to Rome to recreate the arrival of the first contingent of guards, and the issuing of a special commemorative stamp and coin.

The Swiss Guard was founded in 1505 following Pope Julius II’s request for a 200-man Swiss army to protect him.

The sack of Rome on 6 May 1527 marked the bloodiest day in the Guard’s history when 147 guards lost their lives defending Pope Clement VII.

Their reputation was blighted in 1998 when Swiss Guard Cedrich Tornay killed the commander Colonel Alois Estermann and his wife, Gladys Meza Romero, before killing himself.




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