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Sharoon Masih, Pakistan -- Photo from Morning Star News
Photo: Morning Star News

An attack on a 17-year-old Christian boy who was killed at school in recent weeks may have been religiously motivated. The day before the assault -- which was also Sharoon Masih's first day of high school -- a teacher had hit and humiliated him in front of the class. This same teacher, Nazeer Mohal, sent Sharoon home because he had not been wearing a proper uniform, calling him a derogatory name that's used when referring to Pakistani Christians, among other curse words. Sharoon was the only Christian in the class.

Following this uncomfortable encounter, Sharoon returned to class on the second day of school wearing a new uniform. Yet, just a few hours later, a neighbour -- whose son studies at the same school -- informed Sharoon's parents that he had been killed. Upon hearing the news, family members rushed to the school where they were told that some boys had taken Sharoon to the hospital. By that point, he was already dead.

At the hospital, classmates told Sharoon's family members that a fellow student, Ahmed, started a fight with Sharoon for drinking water from a glass used by the other students -- something militants disdain as they regard Christians as "unclean." Although the teacher had not been present in the classroom during that time, some students did try to break up the fight, to no avail. Sharoon tried to escape but Ahmed continued physically assaulting him.

Despite countless interviews police have held with students and school officials, no one has stepped forward to confirm the claim that the fight was initiated over the use of a drinking glass. Also, while Ahmed is in custody and has confessed to involuntary manslaughter, he claims that the killing was not religiously motivated. Other reports concerning the severity of attacks perpetrated against Christians in Pakistan may be found here.

Ask God to minister in meaningful ways to Sharoon's family and friends as they grieve the tragic loss of his young life. May the Lord's comforting presence and strength sustain them in the days, weeks and months ahead. As the police officers further investigate Sharoon's death, pray that the truth will come to light. Also pray for the students, parents, teachers and others of the community who've been affected by this tragedy -- including the teen boy who committed the offense -- that the ministry of the Holy Spirit will take place in their lives as well. As a result, may many new names be added to the Book of Life.