A Muslim doctor in Pakistan who gave life-saving treatment to a Christian using medicine donated via zakaat (Islamic alms-giving) had to seek asylum in the US following death threats for his ‘misuse’ of the funds.

The man whose life he saved arrived at the clinic seeking urgent dialysis, which the doctor performed. But he was told by a nurse that the patient was Christian and that Islamic alms were for Muslims only.

The doctor, from a minority Muslim sect and writing anonymously in The Guardian, did not know the religion of his patient, nor how zakaat donations should be used. He faced a departmental enquiry, followed by threatening phone calls and vandalism to his car and bike, even though he had replaced the medicine at his own cost.

“They found out my family lived in America and that I was alone. This made me an easy target,” he said. He received the death threat at a medical conference hosted by the chair of the NGO that had donated to the clinic.