Christian Girls in Pakistan Targeted with Forced Conversions
By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent
10/05/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has documented seven cases of Pakistani Christian girls being forcibly converted to Islam in just the first six months of 2019. Unfortunately, reports of forced conversions continue to increase. In September alone, three Christian girls joined the confirmed list of victims.
Nabila Nadeem, the mother of a young girl subjected to forced conversion in 2013, is all too familiar with these stories.
“Forced conversion is usually used to cover up the crime of abduction and rape,” Nadeem explained to ICC. “Mostly teenagers are forced to convert.”
However, that is not always the case. Faiza Mukhtar, a Christian teenager and a student at the government girls’ primary school in Khanqah Dogran, located in Sheikhupura district, was forcefully converted for entirely different reasons.
On September 4, Fazia was forcefully taken from school to an Islamic seminary and converted to Islam by the school’s principal. The principal claimed, “The Christian girl has learned reading and writing the Arabic language, and therefore she is no more a Christian and must live the rest of her life as a Muslim.”
In a video posted to Facebook, Faiza’s mother claimed, “On that day, my two daughters went to school, but only one returned home. When we went to the school in search of Faiza, the principal revealed that Faiza had converted to Islam and therefore we had no right to meet her. It was heartbreaking for me.”
“Instead of returning our daughter, the principal asked all of us to convert to Islam,” Faiza’s mother continued. “She offered us a luxurious life and that she will bear the entire expenses of the family and we will have access to Faiza if we converted.”
“On that day, my two daughters went to school, but only one returned home... Instead of returning our daughter, the principal asked all of us to convert to Islam.”
Faiza’s mother claims that the police did not cooperate with her family and refused to register a case against the principal for kidnapping their daughter.
In another incident, Maham, a four-year-old Christian girl, and her mother, Sobia, were forced to convert to Islam in Kasur. In a video also posted to Facebook, Sobia claimed, “My in-laws were forcefully converted and pressurized to motivate me and my minor daughter to convert. However, I refused to embrace Islam.”
“They asked me to give my thumb impression on a piece of blank paper but I said, ‘Never in my life,’” Sobia continued. “Then my four-year-old daughter was kidnapped and her thumb impression was forcibly placed on a religious conversion certificate.”
Samra Munir, a 14-year-old girl, was the third victim of abduction and forced conversion in September. She was forcibly converted to Islam and then married off to Muhammad Ramiz, a Muslim man, on September 16 in Faisalabad.
When Samra’s father, Munir Masih, went to the police station to file a complaint, police officers reportedly refused to file the report. Abdul Rasheed, the investigation officer, used abusive language against the Christian family. Though the authorities eventually accepted the testimony, no action has been taken against the known captors.
Seeking an outlet for the injustice done to them, many Christians have turned to social media to raise awareness. Without the support of the Pakistani authorities, Christians feel dejected in their efforts to protect their youth.
“This trend is becoming alarming for the Christians in Pakistan and bringing a bad name to the country,” Nadeem told ICC. “The parliament must come up with sincere legislation to curb forced conversions and protect religious minorities.”
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