Seventeen-year-old Sharoon Masih, an open Christian in Pakistan, was viciously beaten to death by his Muslim classmates on his fourth day of school for allegedly drinking from their water cooler. An initial report suggests the boy's teacher sat and watched the brutal attack without interfering.
The murder occurred at the end of August.
Masih was reportedly the only Christian student at MC Model Boys Government High School in the Vehari District of Punjab, Pakistan. The young man was targeted for his faith and abused by his classmates on day one, according to his parents.
Sharoon's mother Razia Bibi (30 yrs) told us Sharoon was warned by his peers not to mix with Muslims at school. One boy is believed to have said 'You're a Christian don't dare sit with us if you want to live'. Many boys called Sharoon a 'chura' which is a very derogatory term against Christians. Moreover there were repeated attempts to convert him to Islam, Sharoon however, never quit his faith to the chagrin of the Muslim children around him exacerbating his pariah status.
Moreover, the Christian organization reports that Masih "was slapped and told to stand outside the class for an entire day for not wearing the school uniform" on the first day of school. The Sharoon family said they simply couldn't afford the attire.
"As he was beaten he was called a 'filthy Christian', a 'demon' and a chura, (a derogatory word for [C]hristians). The insults continued till his last breath literally," adds the report. Masih was additionally denied "access to drinking water from a cooler" by his Muslim classmates.
No one came to the boy's assistance during the attack, not even his school teacher, suggest reports of the incident.
"Mixed reports have surrounded the on-duty classroom teacher: one report said he ignored the attack, while the teacher himself said he had not noticed it. The school's headteacher later said that the violence had occurred between classroom sessions with one teacher late to arrive, so no one was on duty. The headteacher has been dismissed from his post," reports Christian Today.
One Muslim student, Muhammad Ahmed Rana, who confessed to the murder, has been arrested and detained by authorities. "No other culprits have been named, though reports suggest several attackers took part," notes Christian Today.
"My son was a kind-hearted, hard-working and affable boy. He has always been loved by teachers and pupils alike and shared great sorrow that he was being targeted by students at his new school because of his faith," said Razia Bibi, Masih's 30-year-old mother.
"Sharoon and I cried every night as he described the daily torture he was subjected to. 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," she continued.
Bibi added: "The evil boys that hated my child are now refusing to reveal who else was involved in his murder. Nevertheless one day God will have his judgment."
"Sharoon was a bright and intelligent young boy who had a potentially good future [and] has now been killed. Yet once again in Pakistan the debate is not on who is culpable but who is not culpable of a most heinous crime," said BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry.
"Christians are despised and detested in Pakistan. They are a constant target for persecution. This killing of a young Christian teenager at school serves only to remind us that hatred towards religious minorities is bred into the majority population at a young age, through cultural norms and a biased national curriculum," he said.
"This devastated family will have to cope with the immense emotional pain of a totally avoidable incident. It is a poor indictment of MC Model Boys Government High School that a Christian could be targeted in this fashion. However by no means is such treatment an anomaly – it is an expectation that Christians will face abuse and violence during their years in the educational system," added Chowdhry.
Pakistan, a Muslim-majority country, has been rated by Open Door USA as "extreme" for their persecution level of Christians.
"Violent persecution is common. Christians are targets for murder, bombings, abduction of women, rape, forced marriages and eviction from home and country. Unjust and arbitrary blasphemy laws are used to punish Christians and prevent evangelism," notes Open Door USA.