A Pakistani Christian family was shot last week for buying a house in a predominately Muslim neighborhood. The attack took place on June 4 in Sawati Phatak Colony, Peshawar, just 175 miles east of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Christians in a Muslim Neighborhood
In early May, Nadeem Joseph bought a house for 600,000 rupees ($700) and moved in with his family. After he and his family got settled into their new home, they were approached by a neighbor named Salman Khan.
When Khan asked if Joseph and his family were Muslim, Joseph replied that they were all Christian. This news was unacceptable to Khan who said that entry of non-Muslims in their streets is forbidden.
“You are a Christian and you can’t buy a house in our Muslim area so how is it possible you are living here?” Khan asked suspicious of why Joseph’s family moved into the neighborhood.
For days, Khan and his children harassed Nadeem Joseph and his family. They threatened “serious consequences” if the Christian family did not move out of the house.
Warning to Leave the Neighborhood Immediately
On the day of Khan’s attack, he gave the family a 24-hour ultimatum. Either leave the neighborhood or suffer the consequences. Joseph refused to pack up his family and move. He said that he and his family had the right to live where they wished.
Joseph tried to call the police as soon as he realized Khan and his sons were armed. Unfortunately, he was shot in the stomach before he could make the call. The attackers then turned the guns on other members of Joseph’s family, wounding his mother-in-law in the shoulder.
Not a single neighbor intervened to help Joseph’s family. After he was able to call for an ambulance, he and his family were taken to a nearby hospital. They are currently recovering and are in stable condition, Asia News reports.
Religious Intolerance in Pakistan
While recovering on his hospital bed, Joseph recorded the following video message:
“A month ago, I purchased a house in TV Colony. I still have to make the final payments to the seller, but Salman Khan, a Muslim in the neighborhood, has started harassing my family,” he said.
He also reported the incident to local police. He told the authorities that Khan said his new neighborhood was “meant for Muslim residents only” and that “Christians and Jews are the opponents of Muslims.”
Christian activist Khalid Shahzad, who has kept in contact with Joseph’s family, told Asia News that the attack by Khan and his sons demonstrates the level of religious intolerance in Pakistan.
“The main offender is still at large. Law enforcement agencies must do everything possible to capture him and bring him to justice,” Shahzad demanded.