17-Year-Old Christian Boy Beaten to Death by Muslim Classmates in Pakistan
Seventeen-year-old Sharoon Masih was beaten to death by Muslim classmates after only four days at a new school in Punjab, the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) reported. The teacher said he did not notice the attack because he was reading a newspaper. The story has attracted global attention, sparking at least one vigil in Australia.
"You're a Christian don't dare sit with us if you want to live," one boy reportedly told Sharoon. Razia Bibi, the boy's 30-year-old mother, said he was isolated from the very first day at his new high school and was the only Christian in his class.
"Sharoon and I cried every night as he described the daily torture he was subjected to," Bibi said. "He only shared details about the violence he was facing. He did not want to upset his father because he had such a caring heart for others."
Muslim boys reportedly called Sharoon a "chura," a derogatory term against Christians. They also repeatedly attempted to convert him to Islam, but the boy held fast to his Christian faith, only making the Muslim students more angry.
Muhammad Ahmed Rana confessed to the murder, a bludgeoning that killed Sharoon on August 27. Students initially claimed that Sharoon was killed for bumping into Rana's foot, but Rana insisted that the Christian boy smashed the screen on his smartphone. He has said other boys were involved, but has refused to implicate them, and no other students have pointed fingers.
Students at first reported that the teacher overseeing the classroom ignored the brutal murder of this despised Christian, but the teacher himself claimed that he was reading a newspaper and did not notice the attack.
This would have been impossible, as reports state Sharoon was beaten to a cacophony of insults. The inactivity of this particular teacher is not the only concern — BPCA reported that police are asking why other teachers in classrooms nearby did not rush to Sharoon's aid. Not one of the teachers reacted to the noise from the melee.
The head teacher backed up the teacher in question, arguing that the attack occurred between classroom sessions and that one teacher was late to arrive, so the incident took place without notice. This head teacher has since been fired by the school's governing body.
Both the head teacher and the classroom teacher have escaped any criminal conviction for negligence and manslaughter.
BPCA and Sharoon's parents are considering a lawsuit which could cost £2,000 (The organization is requesting donations here). BPCA paid for Sharoon's funeral. He was buried on August 28.
"Winning this case would go some way towards highlighting and bringing change to the poor school governance and institutional discrimination that threatens the future of every Christian student in Pakistan," BPCA argued.