The video of the incident, which went viral, sparked a lot of criticism. Despite threats, the man says it is his right to keep his faith and that he is ready to suffer all the consequences, that he will not abandon his religion. The Pakistani Telecommunications Authority admits that immoral content on TikTok and Bigo negatively impacts young people, but no one in authority has so far criticised abusers. For Fr Ifran James, “Should a Christian do something similar, he would be immediately accused of blasphemy”.
Sialkot (AsiaNews) – A video posted on TikTok in July shows a Christian man being pressured to reject his faith and convert to Islam. Despite threats, he can be heard saying that "for nothing in the world" will he abandon the Christian faith.
The video, posted by bilalmaher479, went viral, but also sparked a strong reaction from Christians and members of other religious minorities.
Hitherto, non-Muslims have to had to witness the forced conversions of girls and young women, compelled to marry Muslim men. The forced conversion of boys and young men is something relatively new.
In the video in question, the Christian man is seen being pressured to recite the shahada, the Islamic creed, surrounded by people who are not seen. Despite everything, he refuses, saying that for nothing in the world would he recite the Muslim creed and reject the Christian faith.
His tormentors then begin to threaten him, saying that he will face serious consequences. Even then, the victim says no, stating that it is his right to keep his faith and that he is ready to suffer all the consequences, that he would not give up his religion.
In a statement, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said that it has received many complaints about the immoral, obscene and vulgar contents in social media, especially TikTok and Bigo, for their negative impact, especially on young people.
After contacting the two companies, the PTA said that their response was unsatisfactory and that it blocked Bigo under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act.
Taskeen Khan, a Glory TV presenter and human rights activist, came to the victim’s defence, posting the video on his official page and slamming the forced conversion attempt.
"Will the Pakistani authorities find the offenders through their TikTok account and punish them according to the law?” he asked.
For his part, Rev Irfan James of Peshawar said that "Pakistani Christians suffer many challenges and [endure] persecution. They face difficult situations every day.”
“It is sad that young Muslims, the majority community, constantly threaten Christians and our faith. Time and time again, they make fun of our faith, but neither the government nor law enforcement do anything about it.”
“If we report these cases, the offenders get away with it by apologising and saying that they did it in an unconscious way. Should a Christian do something similar, he is immediately accused of blasphemy and the local Christian community is guilty by association.”
“They rape our women, kill our people, destroy or burn our properties,” and all “We want is for our constitution and the law to treat us as equals, with justice, and for the guilty to be put on trial.”