ASIA/PAKISTAN: Christian girls victims of forced conversions to Islam, rapes and forced marriages


And the world says nothing, does nothing; indeed, it encourages this scourge, this pox on humanity.

Will someone protect my daughters… British Pakistani Christian Association

My heart has been torn asunder after reading some devastating news that Christian Girls are being kidnapped, raped and forcibly married by powerful Muslim landlords and gangs.

Two very revealing stories have described the despicable nature of the acts of debauchery that must have created  great fear and sadness throughout our unprotected communities.

One article posted on Agencia Fides a Catholic blog
described several extreme incidents:

ASIA/PAKISTAN – Christian girls, victims of forced conversions to Islam, rapes and forced marriages

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – In Pakistan forced conversions to Islam, rapes and forced marriages are on the rise. The victims are mostly Hindu and Christian girls, belonging to religious minorities, complain Fides local sources. This has been a worrying phenomenon for the Church in Pakistan for some time and that the Church is trying to address, looking for the cooperation of institutions but it is an uphill battle. “The Christian girls are the weakest and most vulnerable, because their communities are poor, defenceless and marginalized, therefore easily exposed to harassment and threats. Often they do not even have the courage to denounce the violence,” says a sister to Fides. The sister hides and assists the girls who have managed to escape. “But the trend is worrying: There are hundreds of cases a year registered and those that come to light are only a fraction,” she says. In a society that tolerates discrimination of religious minorities, especially of women, the dominant religion and related social position are used to impose tyranny.

A report sent to Fides by the Centre for Legal Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), which takes care of legal assistance for Christians who are discriminated against and persecuted in Pakistan, confirms this issue, reporting some terrible cases that occur mainly in province of Punjab.

Sidra Bibi, 14 year old Christian in the district of Sheikhupura in Punjab, is the daughter of a worker in the cotton industry. A Muslim from the village had his eye on her and began to molest her, and eventually abducted and raped her before threatening her with death. Physically and psychologically abused, the girl became pregnant. She managed to escape from her tormentor and is now back, in a state of exhaustion, with her family. Police have refused to accept her complaint and now the CLAAS lawyers are handling the case.
Tina Barkat, 28 year old Christian, was approached by a Muslim friend who, after being friends with her for several months, asked her to convert to Islam. Her family began to read her verses of the Koran, kidnapped and threatened her, and then gave her in marriage to a Muslim family member. The lawyers have a current action to dissolve the marriage.
The same fate has befallen Samina Ayub, Christian, aged 17, who lives with her family near Lahore. Kidnapped by a Muslim, she was forcibly converted to Islam, and renamed Fatima Bibi and was forced to marry in the Muslim rite. Her family reported the abduction but police have not prosecuted those responsible. The case remains unsolved and the family calls for the mobilisation of civil society to save Samina.
Shazia Bibi, a 19 year old Christian from Gujranwala, in Punjab, worked as a maid in the house of a Muslim woman, the owner of a grocery store. The Muslim boy from the shop was in love with Shazia. In agreement with the owner, they held a conversion and forced her into marriage. The plan was successful but now, thanks to Shazia's family the case has ended up in court.
Also, two other Christian girls, Uzma Bibi, 15 years old, from Gulberg, and Saira Bibi, 20, a nurse from Lahore, were taken by force by Muslim neighbours, converted to Islam and then forced to marry in the Islamic rite. The families of the girls, shocked, have reclaimed their daughters and the cases are currently before the High Court of Lahore, represented by lawyers provided by CLAAS. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/4/2011)

Watson Gill described another ordeal in which two girls were abducted from a place called Jhang.

Watson Gill (Amsterdam)

Any hope for the return home of the two Christian girls kidnapped by a group of Muslims? .two Christian sisters Rubecca Masih and Saima Masih kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. both sisters was on way to home when vehicle occupied by Muhammad Waseem and his five friends pulled them up grabbing them and threw them in and sped off. Muhammad Waseem marry with Saima Masih the day after her kidnaping. This kidnapping took place in Jhang .Most Muslims are redical in this area. For Islam, if woman marries a Muslim, she embraces the religious faith of her husband as a direct consequence.

In Pakistan forced conversions to Islam, rapes and forced marriages are on the rise. The victims are mostly Hindu and Christian girls, belonging to religious minorities

I myself am the father of three daughters one is 7 years old, the next is 3 and our youngest is only 9 months. Stories of child abduction and rape in the UK have made Juliet and I very cautious parents. We drive our children to school and we know it has a safe environment at all other times we are with them and keep them close. I thank God for the safety we have her in the UK, moments like these create a sincere and strong focus on the privileged life we have in this country.

However, imagine the situation Christians face in Pakistan! Schools are a magnet for the kidnappers, the sexually depraved and religious extremists bent of the conversion of innocent children. If a kidnap takes place a corrupt Police force provides no assistance and may often be involved in the illicit activity? Even when the kidnapper is known the abductor has significant enough influence and power to subvert justice (think of Shazia Bashir RIP).

Can you imagine being the father of a daughter subjected to such violence and immorality and being unable to stop it happening? Only recently women were bared naked in Public while their husbands and other men in their family were beaten before them:

Women beaten and made publicly nude while their men were beaten with sticks

These incidents continue despite the international attention on Pakistan and sometimes working for the BPCA can seem a futile process. But if we and other humanitarian groups go silent then what hope will remain for the weak and helpless Christians and other minorities of Pakistan.

We ask you to pray for groups for global humanitarian causes, especially protection for the workers who are subjected to threat and bullying as a consequence of their employment. May God keep them safe and strengthen their resolve we need them.

We also call for you prayer focusing on the persecuted church globally, atrocities like these create low morale, great depression and severe anxiety. Pray for peace, justice and hope to be introduced to all beleaguered people.

UPDATE: D'oh: Pakistan's government is failing to protect the country's religious minorities, a new report says.

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