Rifaqat Masih aged 49, his wife Samina and their three children daughter Shamasa Kiran 19 , two sons Wishal 18 and Rehoboam 16 were the residents of Gulgashat, Peshawar. Rifaqat is a lab technician by profession and his wife is a teacher, the children are all students.
Rifaqat, has been living a happy life and earning his livelihood by working in a hospital run by a religious organization in the city. Unfortunately over the last three years he has been facing serious threats from a religious extremist group Tehreek Taliban TTP.
Rifaqat states “In 2010 Muslim religious groups dropped leaflets inviting us to embrace Islam and threatened us if we denied. There were five minority families in Gulsashat Colony Peshawar – three Christian and two Hindu. We did not pay any heed to that invitation and carried our life as normal. One evening a man approached me by the name of Maulana Mohammed Akram, a cleric of the local mosque who inquired if I had received the invitation to embrace Islam? When I responded yes I did receive the invitation but I cannot leave Christianity, he replied angrily that it is his religious obligation to spread Islam and convert as many as possible to Islam. He advised me to embrace Islam or face dire consequences if I denied Islam. Immediately after two other Christian families that also had been approached moved to a different city in Pakistan. I also left the area within the city with my family. We felt secure when we moved.”
Rifaqat goes on “Knowing the threats to my life and my family and living in the same city is difficult but it was also hard to find a new job in a new city for me and my wife. We continued to follow our living in a new home in Peshawar and tried overcome the fear and threats. After about a year the same man came across me when I was shopping in the market and within a few days we was able to find our new home. My son was going to college and the same man took him to the local Imam Maulana Anees Ur Rehman who threatened my son and family and gave us a deadline or suffer severe consequences.
Rifaqat reached out to our partners on the ground in Pakistan and they checked the story and case history and we allocated funds to relocate the family in a different city in Pakistan as well as provide aid to get them new jobs restart their lives away from threats.