08/18/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – In August 2020, Sultan Masih and his wife, Sofia Bibi, were pressured into converting to Islam to settle a financial debt. The elderly Christian couple is from a village situated in the Khanewal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
According to a video on social media, Masih borrowed 400,000 PKR, equivalent to $2,385.00, from a local Muslim merchant to invest into a business. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this business did not flourish and Masih was unable to repay the debt as planned.
The Muslim merchant started harassing and threatening Masih to get his money back. However, repayment was impossible for Masih.
Later, the Muslim merchant pressured Masih and his wife to convert to Islam in order to clear the debt. Due to the financial pressures faced by the Christian couple, they converted to Islam.
Sultan Masih’s name was changed to Muhammad Sultan during a conversion ceremony at a local mosque. However, Sofia’s name remained the same.
“This is alarming and unbearable situation,” Pastor Sarfraz told International Christian Concern (ICC), highlighting how Pakistani Christians are pressured into conversion due to their economic status. “Christians are mostly the day laborers and have no resources to lift up their lives. Therefore, the government should introduce policies for their betterment and to protect their right to religious freedom.”
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