A remarkable story. “They said they would prefer to have a dog touch the bread rather than us.” From Asia News, with thanks to Nicolei:
M is a Catholic Afghani and a refugee in Italy. He told his story to AsiaNews, an account of discrimination and threats under the Taleban regime owing to his family faith. His father was killed because he converted, and to save his son, he did not tell him that he had been baptised. It was only when he arrived in Italy that the boy discovered he was a Christian. “Now I want to live for Jesus even when I am with my Muslim friends”.
(AsiaNews) — Subjected to discrimination and scorn at the hands of the Taleban in Afghanistan, he was forced to flee, losing his entire family. M (whose real name cannot be disclosed for security reasons) is an Afghan youth who is a refugee in Italy. He has always been a Catholic, however without knowing it: his father, a convert from Islam, had to hide the truth from him to protect him. M only discovered his religion a year ago: an Italian cultural mediator explained to him that Isai, the term used by his peers to denigrate him, meant “Christian”. And he saw images in churches, which his family would keep hidden at home, and in the hands of one of his teachers, he saw a rosary like his mother’s.
M lived in a small mountain village. When he was still a child, his father, a landowner, was killed by neighbours, who accused him of having made money by betraying his Islamic faith and becoming a Christian. In reality, they wanted to take over his lands. According to local laws, the males of the family of the victim, once they come of age, have the right to avenge the death, with the tacit consent of all. So those who had murdered M”s father started to persecute him and his brother, with the intention of killing them before they came of age and could take justice into their hands. M and his brother escaped. Their mother also escaped and the brothers have not heard from her since. This was at the end of 1999 under the Taleban regime, during the civil war.
“From when I was young, I tried to enter the mosque like everyone else,” recalled M. “But the others prevented me from doing so and they accused me of not being a Muslim. I did not understand but I saw small signs, which made me think that my family and me were different: no one wanted to eat with us, they said they would prefer to have a dog touch the bread rather than us. We lived an isolated life without friends. When I tried to play with other children, they kept their distance from me, at school they mocked me and beat me. All families kept at least one weapon per member at home; we only had an old hunting rifle hung on the wall, which my father rarely used. My companions offended me, using the word Isai: I thought it meant “˜criminal” or “˜assassin” and I felt dirty. Meanwhile, I continued to press my father for explanations. I would see him and my mother say the rosary (at the time I did not even know what it was) and I looked at the image of Jesus and the Virgin Mary hung on the wall in one of the rooms of the house, which was always kept closed. I would ask and demand, my father would only reply, “˜When you are old, you will understand”.”
Read it all.