The 15-year-old Pakistani Christian boy who died after being beaten and set on fire by two Muslim men last Friday reportedly issued Christian forgiveness to the men who perpetrated his attack before his death.
As previously reported by the Gospel Herald, Nouman Masih was walking on his way to a cloth stitching job in the Lahore region of Pakistan when he was approached by two Muslim men.
After answering when asked by the men whether he was a Muslim or Christian, the men beat Nouman, chased him down, doused him in kerosene and set him on fire when he told them he was a Christian. On Wednesday, the teenager died due to the severity of his burns, which covered 55% of his body.
Because Nauman's attackers were able to flee the scene unidentified, the actual perpetrators of the attack remain unknown. However, Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, revealed that prior to his death, Nouman said that because of his faith, he was able to forgive the men who attacked him.
"He just said that he forgave them. That's more like a Christian forgiveness, but he didn't want his attackers to prevail and enact their crimes on anybody else. He was just being very magnanimous in a Christian way saying, 'I have forgiven them but I want them to go through the justice system,'" Chowdhry told the AFP.
"You can imagine what it was like for him to have kerosene poured on him and being set alight," Chowdhry continued. "He was very vocal in the fact that he didn't want that to happen to anyone else, especially at the moment when Christians are under some very extreme tension."
On Wednesday, over 2,000 people attended a funeral service for Nouman, which was held at the St Ignatius Catholic Church in Shera Kot, a district of Lahore,The Express Tribune reports. Father Samson Dilawar led the service, and a number of other Christian leaders also attended.
"Nouman was brave throughout his pain and spoke of forgiveness for his attackers. He dies a martyr and will no doubt be with the Lord today," Chowdhry said in a statement. "Please pray for his family who have had to endure 5 days of extreme heartache and can expect little justice."
Meanwhile, the BPCA has coordinated with Nauman's family to set up a donation fund to help cover the family's funeral costs. The teen's uncle, Nadeem Masih, tearfully explained that Nauman was "just like his son" and it was very hard to lose him, as he had raised him since he was four years old.
"I appeal to the Punjab government and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to ensure the killers are brought to justice...We have registered a police complaint," Nadeem said, but noted that the authorities have shown little interest in pursuing the case.