Just another ordinary religion story in need of a strong photograph

Javed Anjum was an 19-year-old Christian student in Pakistan who died on May 2 of "renal failure," after suffering broken ribs and loss of eyesight. It also seemed that someone had yanked out his nails. Sorry, but we don't have any photographs.

The photo is of mourners after an earlier act of terrorism in Pakistan.

This is another one of those God-beat stories that is only being reported -- without the sizzling phtographs that serious coverage requires -- in religious media and in a few papers in Pakistan. As the wire services at PakTribune.com reported:

Chairman All Pakistan Minorities Alliance Shahbaz Bhatti has strongly condemned the brutal killing of a young Christian boy, Javed Anjum, a college student, who was severely tortured by the students and Administration of Madrissa Jamia Hassan-Bin-Ali Murtaza, Toba Tek Singh.

Mr Bhatti said the killing of Christian boy is brutal and barbaric act of religious terrorism, which should be condemned at all level by every peace loving person. He demanded the immediate intervention of President Musharraf and concerned higher authorities to arrest the perpetrators.

Government should protect life and property of religious minorities and curb the roots of these elements that are creating anarchy and damaging peace of country, Mr Bhatti added.

Anjum was apparently kidnapped when he stopped to get a drink of water and was tortured for five days in an attempt to force his conversion. When his condition worsened he was taken to the police and kept in custody for two days. Finally, he was taken to a hospital, where he died.

The Catholic newpaper Asia News has more details. Catholic bishops in Pakistan say this is part of a trend that clearly violates both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Islamic teachings.

The Bishop's Commission claimed, `Religious intolerance and discrimination is the reason behind the recent incidents where young non-Muslims were forcibly converted and circumcised.` In November another Pakistan Catholic boy, 15-year-old Zeeshan Gill, was abducted by a Muslim classmate and forced to convert. He was threatened and beaten by Islamic clerics and made to attend religious classes at Madrasa Jamia al Qasim al Aloom, an Islamic boarding school. He eventually escaped from his captors, but he and his mother and brother have since been in hiding for fear of death.

Sorry, we have no gripping photographs of the Gill family, either.

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