By Y.S., The Gospel Coalition
As a little boy I used to play in a small field in front of my home, part of the largest mosque in the area. With huge speakers installed on the minarets of the mosque, the sound was so loud that it felt as if the speakers were installed inside my house. Early in the morning I’d wake up at the Muslim call to prayer. Though I never had any fear of being in the mosque field, I was often instructed to be careful. But I didn’t really understand; getting up at call to prayer and playing in the field were regular parts of my childhood.
When I started schooling, I was surrounded by a vast majority of Muslim students. During recess some boys would grab me tightly, put a stick sword to my neck, and force me to recite Kalima, the Muslim creed. I wouldn’t say it, but I could see the anger in their eyes. With each new day, my realization became stronger and stronger that they treated me like this because I am Christian.
With time I only sensed more rejection, hatred, and discrimination because of my Christian faith. Walls were being constructed around the field, the minarets were getting higher, and the call to prayer became louder than ever. It felt strange to see things change so rapidly. Even people on the street were stern toward me, turning every conversation to religion and posing questions like “Is the prophet of Islam mentioned in the Bible?” I’d answer, and then they’d throw me on the ground. They’d shout “Isai” (a follower of Isa, the name given to Jesus in the Qur’an) and make remarks used to insult Pakistani Christians’ ethnicity and roots.
Out of concern, some of my extended family members said I should keep my distance. Of course, this is impossible; 98 percent of the country’s population is Muslim. Shopkeepers would ask my name and add Muhammad before it, assuming I was Muslim simply because of my name. One day a Muslim technician came to fix the electrical cable in our home. He appeared thirsty and exhausted, so my mother offered him a glass of water. First, though, she informed him we were Christians so that he wouldn’t get angry if he later discovered he drank water from a Christian home. For some reason, I started feeling inferior to people in the majority community. It became an intense struggle in my heart and mind.