No justice for Christian girl murdered by Muslim employer
By Spero News
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Shazia Bashir, 12, was allegedly killed by her Muslim employer, Chaudhry Muhammad Naeem, a wealthy lawyer, in Lahore, Pakistan, on January 22.
Naeem is a former president of the Lahore Bar Association. Shazia had been working for 8 months as a domestic (child) worker at Defense Colony in Lahore. There are more around 10 million child laborers in Pakistan, where physical violence is common at work.
Despite legislation such as the Employment of Children Act 1991, child labor is on the rise because of increasing poverty,‘ the Pakistan daily Dawn reported.
According to local media reports, statistics show that 70 per cent or more female domestic servants suffer abuse in some form. All domestic servants remain unprotected by labor laws with no regulations in place as to their hours of work, leave of absence and other rights.
Shazia worked for only Rs1,000 (US$12) per month as a domestic worker of that family which had been continuously tortured her. Her body was badly maimed when she was brought to the Jinnah Hospital Lahore where she died. According the local Christians, she was died after severe tortured. She belonged to a very poor family and was their only source of income. She had one younger brother of 8 years age while her two elder sisters are married.
"We were not allowed to see her for a long time," her parents told the media. The alleged killer tried to pressure her father to reach an agreement with him and accept Rs. 20,000 (US$250) for the family's silence in the matter.
After facing a Sindh Assembly members’ protest strong resistance from the Shzia‘s family, the alleged perpetrator brought a police officer to intimidate the family but the family did not relent in demanding justice for their daughter‘s murder.
Christian leaders say that police did not apprehend the accused because Shazia‘s family was poor and belongs to a religious minority group. Many Christians and Muslims on Jan. 23 protested outside the Punjab Assembly for hours, demanding action against the alleged killers. Due to public pressure, a First Information Report (FIR) was lodged by police after at least 18 hours following the protest.
Woman Fired For Eating 'Unclean' Meat

Attorney: 'It's A Classic Case Of Religious Discrimination'
POSTED: 5:46 am EDT August 4, 2004
UPDATED: 1:50 pm EST December 31, 2004
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Central Florida woman was fired from her job after eating "unclean" meat and violating a reported company policy that pork and pork products are not permissible on company premises, according to Local 6 News.
Lina Morales was hired as an administrative assistant at Rising Star -- a Central Florida telecommunications company with strong Muslim ties, Local 6 News reported.
However, 10 months after being hired by Rising Star, religious differences led to her termination.
Morales, who is Catholic, was warned about eating pizza with meat the Muslim faith considered "unclean," Local 6 News reported. She was then fired for eating a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, according to the report.
"Are you telling me they fired you because you had something with ham on it?" Local 6 News reporter Mike Holfeld asked.
"Yes," Morales said.
Holfeld asked, "A pizza and a BLT sandwich?"
" Yes," Morales said.
Local 6 News obtained the termination letter that states she was fired for refusing to comply with company policy that pork and pork products are not permissible on company premises.
However, by the company's own admission to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that policy is not written, Local 6 News reported.
"Did you ever sign to or agree to anything that said I will not eat pork?" Holfeld asked Morales.
"Never," Morales said. "When I got hired there, they said we don't care what religion you are."
Attorney Travis Hollifield is representing Morales in a lawsuit against the company.
"It's just un-American," Hollifield said. "It's not in compliance with the laws of this country."
Local 6 News reported that the case has precedent-setting issues because it addresses employee rights and religion in the workplace.
"It's a classic case of religious discrimination," Hollifield said. "They have not articulated a single reason other than religious reason behind the policy."
The CEO of Rising Star, Kujaatele Kweli, told Local 6 News that they have tried to create an office that accommodates anybody's religion -- not just Islam.
"Clearly you're accommodating," Holfeld said.
"Yes." Kweli replied.
"And you have an ecumenical philosophy," Holfeld said.
" Yes," Kweli replied.
"(Then) shouldn't you be able to accommodate all faiths in the same lunch room?" Holfeld asked.
"We do, we can," Kweli said.
"But you've dismissed one of your employees for eating pork in the lunch room," Holfeld said.
"Yes, pork is considered unclean," Kweli said.
The Koran forbids Muslims from eating pork. And according to Kweli, Morales and every employee at the company is advised of the no pork policy.
"Our point of view is to respect the laws of the land and the laws of the land as I understand it is to the accommodate people's right to practice their religions if you can," Kweli said.
"Even if it impacts other people?" Holfeld asked.
"Well, it always impacts other people," Kweli replied.
Orlando attorney Mark Nejame is close to the Muslim community, Local 6 News reported. He said Kweli's intentions may cross constitutional parameters, according to the report.
"They're making it seem that if you don't follow a certain set of religious practices and beliefs then you're going to be terminated and that's wrong," Nejame said. "If this case prevails, what it will mean -- the implications of this case -- is it will eliminate accommodations of religion."
Both sides are steadfast in their belief that they are right. Morales is taking the company to court charging discrimination, Local 6 News reported.
Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.