A young Muslim bride became a widow and suffered near-fatal injury when her father and brothers tortured and murdered her husband and wounded her in an attack to “avenge the humiliation” brought upon the family by her unthinkable act of treason against the religion of her birth.

Her sin? She married a Christian.

Nadia, a 23-year-old Muslim, married Aleem Masih, a Christian, in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan, and then fled the city after her family began a manhunt to track them down.

The Quran prescribes “grievous chastisement” and punishment as the penalty for apostasy, acting against the Islamic faith in word or in deed, and several hadiths, or interpretations of the holy gospel of Islam, demand the death penalty. Marrying a Christian is considered one of the most serious crimes against the faith, justifying revenge or “honor killings” by families.

The bride’s family sought to avenge the shame they believed Nadia had brought upon them and the Islamic faith by marrying a Christian. The couple filed a petition with the courts requesting police protection after Nadia’s family went public with death threats against Aleem and his family.

After learning of the couple’s whereabouts, Nadia’s father and brothers kidnapped them, taking them to a remote rural area where Aleem was tortured before being shot to death. They then turned on Nadia, who was also shot.

Believing the couple to be dead, the male family members returned to their village and “publicly proclaimed that they had avenged their humiliation and restored the pride of the Muslims by killing the couple in cold blood,” according to Aneeqa Maria, the attorney speaking on behalf of the groom’s family.

 One of the bride’s brothers turned himself in to the police and confessed to the murder of both his sister and her husband, giving them directions to the bodies, however Nadia was found alive and taken to a hospital in Lahore where she underwent surgery.

When locals learned of Nadia’s survival, a large mob gathered at the hospital and began both praising her family for the so-called “honor killing” and chanting anti-Christian slogans. Crowds also converged at the police station to celebrate the family’s “victory over the infidel.”

The debate about “honor killings” has gained increasing attention as Muslims become larger segments of the population in Western countries.  A poll conducted by the government in the United Kingdom in 2014 where the Muslim population has increased dramatically, found that over one-third of young British Muslims support the death penalty for apostasy.



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