Pakistan – Christian stoned to death for ordering tea from a “Muslim Only Stall”

Barnabas Fund. Recent reports from the Punjab have highlighted a grievous case of religious violence. On May 9, Ishtiaq Masih had disembarked from a bus that had stopped in Machharkay village to give the passengers an opportunity for rest and refreshment. A sign hung on the roadside tea stall, which read, “All non-Muslims should introduce their faith prior to ordering tea. This stall serves Muslims only.” Ishtiaq failed to see this and paid for the mistake with his life. When Ishtiaq went to pay for his tea the owner noticed his necklace with a cross on it. The owner called on his employees to punish the Christian for not abiding by the sign. A group of men then beat Ishtiaq to death with whatever they could lay their hands on, including stones from the ground on which he lay. Villagers and bus passengers managed to intervene to break up the beating, but Ishtiaq died from his extensive injuries at a rural health centre. His family have reported the incident, and although no action has been taken to apprehend the stall holder, the local police chief has gone on record promising that investigations are under way and that this is being treated as a faith-based murder. • Please pray for the family of Ishtiaq and his friends, that they may comfort each other at this time and that this may be an end and not a beginning of such attacks. • Pray for the local police chief, that he may act justly and investigate this incident with equity, in accordance with the Pakistani constitution. Pray that he may start by taking down the sign on the stall as a signal to the community that such attitudes are not lawful. • Pray that Christians in Pakistan may not be discriminated against because of their faith or caste. Pray that all persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters may end soon.

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