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Convert or go to hell: tablighis tell non-Muslim patients at govt hospitals – by Urooj Zia

KARACHI – Twenty-three-year-old Zain*, a Catholic Christian, was admitted to the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital Karachi after he was shot and wounded as a passer-by in a crossfire. While his worried parents and sister stood around waiting for the doctor’s verdict, men in green turbans and high shalwars swooped down on Zain. “Brother, you must denounce your infidel ways. Kalma parhein (recite the Kalma),” they told the young man who was barely conscious and obviously in immense pain.

“Become a Muslim, and god will forgive you all your transgressions against him. Die a Muslim!” Zain’s 17-year-old sister pleaded with them once to leave the family alone. “My brother is in pain. Please, let us take care of him,” she said. In response, one of the men turned around and gruffly told her to shut up. “Do not interfere in god’s work,” she was told.

Such scenes are no longer an anomaly at government hospitals in Karachi: men from various religious factions – the Tablighi Jamaat in particular – stalk the hallways of emergency wards, hoping to earn ‘savaab’ by converting non-Muslims on their deathbeds. In their quest for supposed divine rewards, they ignore the pleas of the families to be left alone with their loved one, as well as any pain that the patient might be in. Zain’s parents pulled their aside. “We know the consequences of interfering,” his father, who works as a mechanic, said quietly after the men had left when Zain, who had lost consciousness by then, did not respond.

“These people are like vultures; they do this to everyone. If we try to stop them, they will accuse us of maybe insulting their religion. We don’t want to be charged with blasphemy. It will be our word against theirs. Who will listen to us?” he asked. Zain wasn’t the only victim. The group of green-turbaned men went around to every bed, asking attendants of patients if they were Muslim. If they replied in the affirmative, they were asked to recite the Kalima to ‘prove’ it. It must be noted that these attendants were already harassed – most of the patients in the ward were in critical condition; they were either victims of roadside or household accidents or had gunshot wounds that needed attention.

Nurses in the area, meanwhile, pretended to look the other way. “We’re already understaffed and have too much to deal with. We can’t handle this additional headache. Let them do what they want. The patients’ attendants can deal with them,” they said.
Similar scenes are repeated regularly at every government-run hospital in the city. While security at these organisations is minimal, even the guards that are present don’t try to stop the evangelists. “Who are we to interfere in the work of god,” Saleem, a guard on duty outside the emergency ward at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre claimed, shrugging helplessly. “If someone converts to Islam this way, we will get Savaab too. These men help the patients and their families get spiritual peace.”

“We wish they’d leave us alone,” Zain’s father maintained. “If my son wanted to convert, he would have done so on his own. What’s the point of harassing someone who is obviously already in pain? Whose god would allow that?”

* Name changed to protect privacy

Source: Pakistan Today

About the author

Junaid Qaiser


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  • It’s a fake article. I work in Civil Hospital and have lot of friends in JPMC too. I have not seen these activities despite working for last 10 years as a doctor. Ridiculous article and the author was so scared to hide her/his name?

  • Christian threatened and accused of blasphemy, forced into hiding
    Mardan – “Convert or die”. Masih Gill, Christian from the city of Mardan, in the province of “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” (Northern Pakistan), was threatened with these words by a group of Muslims with whom he had been speaking, after the recent episode of the burning of the Koran in the US. This event brought violent reactions in Pakistan (three churches attacked in a week) by Muslim extremists. Local sources of say that Masih Gill simply defended his faith, saying that Christians respect all religions and do not nurture hostility towards anyone. The discussion then degenerated and the Muslims seriously threatened Gill. At the end of the fight, they also gave him intimidating notice that he would be incriminated for blasphemy.
    Masih Gill, father, is now in hiding, and his family – thanks to the intervention of the Masihi Foundation who also defend Asia Bibi – will be transferred to a more secure place. The city of Mardan, in fact, is infested with radical Muslim groups which terrorise civilians, especially the religious minorities. “His story is one of many, and a fine example of the frustrations that Christians suffer daily”, explains Haroon Masih, Director of the Masihi Foundation. to Fides.
    “We are witnessing an absurd escalation of violence in society. Every day there are attacks with many people killed and injured, as well as places of worship being targeted. In this dramatic situation, however, no one seems to intervene, and the civil authorities do not move,” says a source in the Catholic community to Fides, expressing serious concern.
    “It’s a difficult time for the Christian community,” remarks Peter Jacob, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Justice and Peace for the Bishops of Pakistan. “We are always working to denounce and combat social discrimination against religious minorities. But now there is also a campaign of anti-Christian hatred and intolerance promoted by Islamic extremist groups. Christians are suffering and live in fear. Now the community’s hopes lie in the strength, good will and talent of the new Special Adviser for religious minorities, Paul Bhatti, brother of the slain minister. Christians in Pakistan and all minorities need a voice that promotes and protects their rights at the institutional level.”

  • The comment by Tooba Hussain says it all. This is exactly what is wrong with Islam. Complete denial supported by total ignorance.

    When the Sri Lankan team was attacked, Pakistan blogs were full of messages about complicity of RAW. Looks like not a crow flies in Pakistan without a conspiracy from RAW, Mossad and CIA.

    Nice country. Keep it up!

  • I wish the writer Urooj Zia had done at least a little research about the Tableeghi’s before writing such an uninspiring article on such an important topic. I have seen the Tableeghi’s not just in Pakistan, but have also experienced their methods of preaching in the United Kingdom during my 6 years stay there. Just to make it short, The tableeghi’s don’t give ‘Dawaah’ to non-muslims as their aim (according to thier elders) is to bring the Muslims back on to the track of the Sahabas. They believe, the non-muslims will follow suit once the Muslims become True Muslims.
    And just to add to the writer’s information, the men wearing “Green Turbans” are not from the Tableeghi Jammat which are mostly the Deobandis, but they are the similar/identical devotees from the “Barelvi sect of Islam”. These green turbaned muslims too, do not force anyone to become muslim by force, they do not tell people to “SHUT UP”.
    Finally, sincere advice to the writer to get her info right if she wants to become a successful writer.