Peshawar (Agenzia Fides) - "Our Muslim neighbors have threatened us to leave our home within 24 hours; listening to this threat I dialed the police helpline, but before the police arrived, they started beating me and, holding guns, opened fire on me and my family and fled when they heard that the police was arriving": this is what Christian Nadeem Joseph reported to Agenzia Fides, explaining the episode of violence that occurred in recent days in Peshawar, capital of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhthun Khwa. Nadeem Joseph says: "Two bullets hit me in the stomach. My mother-in-law was injured on the shoulder".
Nadeem Joseph's family bought that house last month, and had moved in the last week of May: "As soon as we settled, our Muslim neighbors asked us about our religion and when they learned that we are Christians, they started to threaten us, intimating us to leave the house. This is a residential area for Muslims: Jews and Christians cannot buy a house and live here, they said". Nadeem adds: "They started to create problems for us: one day they put glue in the lock of the main gate of our house, other times they threatened my children".
Now Nadeem Joseph's family is scared. And the man says, "I have not paid the full amount of this house yet; I appeal to security officials to guarantee the protection of my family. Our attackers are people involved in drugs and criminality".
The police filed the first investigation report (FIR) against the attackers, Salman Khan and his children.
Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cap, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Social Communication of the Catholic Bishops of Pakistani, condemned this attack and, speaking with Agenzia Fides, said: "This incident highlights discrimination, intolerance and lack of peaceful coexistence in society. Our current government has taken good steps to promote and strengthen social and religious harmony, but we still have to work hard". Fr. Qaisar adds: "Discrimination and hatred against people of other religions exist among fundamentalist-minded people. It is everyone's job to fight this mentality".
Human rights and peace activist Khalid Shahzad tells Fides: "It is always sad to see discrimination against Christian citizens based on their religion. Some Muslims who have a mentality steeped in fanaticism and fundamentalism want to see Christians only engaged in low-skilled jobs like street and sewer cleaners. This discriminatory attitude is present in various offices and institutes, where separate tools are kept for Muslim and non-Muslim people, or where there are separate places for Muslim and non-Muslim staff: it is a religious segregation". (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 12/6/2020)