â€˜Religion of Beauty’ claims another victim
A YOUNG Christian in Pakistan who made the mistake of ordering a cup of tea from a “Muslims only” roadside stall was beaten and stabbed to death by a mob of 15, led by the stall owner.
According to this report, Ishtiaq Masih failed to see a sign warning non-Muslims to declare their religion before being served at the stall, located in Machharkay village, Punjab.
When Ishtiaq went to pay for his tea, the owner – a devout practitioner ofÂ the Religion ofÂ Beauty – noticed that the customer was wearing a necklace with a cross. He seized Ishtiaq – a passenger on a bus which had stopped for a break at the stall – and called for his employees to bring anything available to beat him for violating the rule.
The owner and 14 of his employees then beat Ishtiaq with stones, iron rods and clubs, and stabbed him multiple times with kitchen knives.
Other bus passengers and passers-by finally intervened and took Ishtiaq to the Rural Health Centre in the village. The doctor who examined Ishtiaq later told International Christian Concern that Ishtiaq had died of internal and external bleeding, a fractured skull, and brain injuries.
Makah Tea Stall is located on the Sukheki-Lahore highway and is owned by Mubarak Ali, a 42-year-old radical Muslim. ICC’s correspondent visited the tea stall and observed that a large red warning sign with a death’s head symbol was posted which read, “All non-Muslims should introduce their faith prior to ordering tea. This tea stall serves Muslims only”. The warning also threatened anyone who violated the rule with “dire consequences”.
A neighbouring shopkeeper told ICC on condition of anonymity that all Ali’s employees are former students of radical Muslim madrassas (seminaries).
Ishtiaq’s family said that they immediately reported the incident to the police and filed a case against Ali. However, the murderers are still freely operating the tea stall.
When ICC asked the Pindi Bhatian Saddar police station about the murder, the police chief said that investigations were underway and they are treating it as a faith-based murder by biased Muslims.
When asked about Ali’s warning sign, police chief Muhammad Iftikhar Bajwa claimed that he was unable to remove it – despite the fact that the constitution of Pakistan explicitly prohibits such discrimination.