Point of No Return exclusive
Pakistan does not recognise Judaism and there were no known Jews living in Pakistan until Fishel Benkhald embarked on the struggle to self-identify. Now another young Jew, Aryeh Ben Samuel, has decided to declare himself as a Jew, despite all the risks. Here is his story. (With thanks: Wayne)
"Shalom to the whole world from Pakistan,
I am an 18 year- old Pakistani boy. My grandparents crossed the Indian border in 1948. They used to live in Hyderabad, South India. During the migration process, my grandfather told me that those days were the toughest days he had ever seen in his life: there was blood all the way, kidnappings, rapes.
Extremists also robbed my grandparents ; when they forced my grandparents to accept Islam and leave Judaism, my grandparents refused, then they raped my grand mother, so I was told. When they got into Pakistan at the Wagah border with Lahore, they were processed so as to obtain migration documents. When it came to religion, the migration registrar refused to provide documents for my ancestral family. His words were, so as I was told: " we hate Jews, because of non-Muslims we had to sacrifice our lives to obtain a country, and you people will ruin it, and make our land unholy."
My ancestral family was forced to accept Islam once again, but they now decided to pretend rather than accept. From that very moment we were registered here under Muslim names.
A few days ago when I became legally an adult of 18 years of age, I filed an application to the registration department NADRA for my ID card. I also mentioned to them that I want to make my religion Judaism again. The registration officer lady, replied with an angry face, " once the religion is Islam it can never be changed as per the policy laid down by the Interior Ministry." Thrice I received same reply, even though I showed them some documents which we obtained after migration, documents which still show that we are Jews.
Shalom from Pakistan.
Baruch Shem kavod malchuto leo'lam vaed.*
Aryeh Ben Samuel from Pakistan
Even though we are pretending to be Muslim, we have never forget to observe shabbat, and we do pray the shema, read Tanach (Torah) Tehilim (psalms).
*Verse from the shema