She was 16 years old, working as an operator in a tiny, public call office in Pakistan, when a man walked in and saw the silver cross dangling around her neck.
He asked her three times: "Are you a Christian?"
Julie Aftab answered, "Yes, sir," the first two times, and then got frustrated.
"Didn't you hear me?" she asked.
They argued, and the man abruptly left the little office, returning 30 or 40 minutes later with a turquoise bottle. Aftab tried to block the arc of battery acid, but it melted much of the right side of her face and left her with swirling, bone-deep burns on her chest and arms. She ran for the door, but a second man grabbed her hair, and they poured the acid down her throat, searing her esophagus.Why did these men do this? Why were they at first not arrested, even though police knew who they were? Why was she shunned and denied medical attention at several hospitals?
You are living life in the gutter, the Muslim man told her.
She tried to ignore him, remembering what her mother had taught her since she was a child: "You are no one to insult someone's religion. If someone is insulting religion, they have to answer to God."
You are going to hell, the man told her. You are living in darkness.
"I am living in the light," Aftab replied.
So you think Islam is in darkness? the man demanded.She had the good sense to not answer in the affirmative. (Not that anyone would think that someone who would do this was in darkness, of course.)
There is a happy ending. She came to the U.S., where doctors rebuilt her face, arms, esophagus, and apparently her scars are becoming less severe over time. It is a fundamental belief of multiculturalists that all cultures are equally valid. Maybe it just shows my narrow-mindedness, but I don't find that a particularly persuasive claim.