Thursday, October 23, 2014   

Persecuted Muslim seek refuge in China
(06-19 13:26)

Fleeing discrimination and violence, members of a Muslim sect have abandoned their homes in Pakistan to find an unlikely refuge in China.
"Every day I heard the sound of guns,'' said a 37-year-old surnamed Saeed of his former home Lahore, Pakistan's second city.
"We prayed every day, because we felt something could happen to us at any time.''
He is one of hundreds of people who have sought asylum in China in recent years, often from conflict and violence-stricken countries including Iraq and Somalia.
The government tolerates their presence but provides almost no support, while human rights groups have for years condemned Beijing for deporting tens of thousands of asylum seekers who enter it to escape oppression in North Korea and Myanmar.
Around 35 of the almost 500 UN-registered asylum seekers and refugees currently in China are Ahmadi Muslims -- a sect which believes their 19th century founder Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet, and that Jesus Christ died aged 20 in Srinagar, in Indian-ruled Kashmir.
They are among the most persecuted minorities in Pakistan -- a constitutional Islamic republic which bans them from calling themselves Muslims or going on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. --AFP   
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