A Pakistani Christian asylum seeker in hiding in Thailand says he was attacked by a group of radical Muslims at a grocery store two days before Christmas as his family has faced years of hurdles in their quest for resettlement.
Faraz Pervaiz, a ministry leader who often posted criticisms of Islam online, fled from Pakistan in 2014 after radical Muslims grew enraged by videos he and his father posted. Following pressure from Muslim groups, the Pakistani government filed a criminal blasphemy case against Pervaiz in 2017.
Although Pakistan is known for imprisoning more people for blasphemy than any other country, Pervaiz told The Christian Post that his case is the first instance in the history of Pakistan’s blasphemy law that the state itself registered a blasphemy case against someone.
Additionally, Pervaiz is the subject of two bounties that have radical Muslims in Bangkok eager to cash in on the reward.
The first bounty is the equivalent of $62,000 issued by the political party Tahreek-e-Labbaik in Pakistan over a year-and-a-half ago. Then last January, a radical cleric who sympathizes with the Taliban placed a bounty on Pervaiz’s head equal to about $124,000.
Since the location of Pervaiz’s Bangkok residence was disclosed online last July by a Muslim refugee, he and his family have been subject to increased death threats. Despite years of pleading with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to be resettled, he feels the entity and the international community are failing his family in their time of great need.
“I am in a situation where we are helpless here,” Pervaiz explained in a recent phone interview. “Actually it’s not the fault of UNHCR. This is the fault of my people, my Christian community. They are not taking any serious measures for our safety.”
The increased threats against his life came to a head last Dec. 23.
Pervaiz said that he was on his way to his parents’ house when he stopped at a local Indian grocery store to buy sweets for his parents and his four siblings detained at Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre. When he entered the store, he was confronted by a Muslim refugee he knew named Muhamad.
According to Pervaiz, Muhamad had come to him last April to be baptized in the name of Christ. Although Muhamad was baptized in front of the Pervaiz’s congregation, the baptism turned out to be a ploy by Muhamad to get more intelligence on how Pervaiz and his father were running their ministry.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith