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Monday, December 5, 2011

Young Christian woman killed during an attempted rape in Pakistan

By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

FAISALABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- A 28-year-old Muslim man, Arif Gujjar, is in police custody for questioning for the murder of 18-year-old Christian Amariah Masih whom was shot to death during an attempted rape Nov. 27.

In an online article for AsiaNews (  ) Shafique Khokhar reports the young woman was originally from the village of Tehsil Samundari, about 40 km from Faisalabad (Punjab), and was murdered because she resisted an attempted rape.

AsiaNews says Arif Gujjar is a "young drifter and drug addict," the son of a wealthy landowner in the area, named Shafi Gujjar. The young woman’s father is calling for justice, while the Muslim community has gathered around the family overwhelmed by grief.

The young woman’s mother, Razia Bibi, 50, told AsiaNews that she and her daughter were on their way to the channel to collect drinking water, which is not available in the village. At first, Arif Gujjar, in the company of a friend whose identity is still unknown, took possession of the motorbike on which they were travelling, then grabbed the girl and, under the threat of a gun, tried to drag her away. The young Christian woman resisted, trying to escape the clutches of her attacker, when the man opened fire and killed her instantly, and later tried to conceal the corpse.

According to AsiaNews, the young woman’s body was found by her father, Mansha Masih, 53, who has five daughters and two sons. He denounced the suspect, who was still near the area where he had tried to hide the corpse and erase any trace of the murder. The police were immediately in pursuit of Arif Gujjar, stopping him shortly afterward. The girl's father thanked police, who "have worked hard" to arrest the culprit.

At the end of the young woman’s funeral, a Muslim delegation met with the family to express solidarity and bring harmony and peace within the community. Mansha Masih, however, urged that justice be done and he stated that he "will fight to get it" because "they are the victim of a cruel act."

AsiaNews said the young woman’s funeral was celebrated by Father Zafal Iqbal, a native of Khushpur, who explained to AsiaNews that: "Wealthy and influential landowners often take aim at those who are marginalized and vulnerable, for their dirty interests."

** Michael Ireland is the Senior International Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior International Reporter

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