ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian girl converted to Islam by force escapes captors

Thursday, 4 August 2016 conversion   violence   islam   religious minorities   religious freedom  


Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - A deaf-mute Pakistani Christian girl was able to escape from a Muslim man who had kidnapped and forced her to convert to Islam and to Islamic marriage. Now, after the courageous act, the girl and her family, who are in Sialkot, in the Pakistani province of Punjab, are threatened with death.
According to the religious Muslims, in fact, Asma (who is called by them with the Islamic name Aysha), is now converted to Islam and married to a Muslim, therefore, cannot return to her family of origin.
As Fides learns, Asma was kidnapped five months ago by her neighbor Ghulam Hussain, a very influential Muslim who has relations with the police and representatives of the political world. Now Hussain is threatening Asma’s father, Gulzar Masih who went to the local police station to report the facts: the police, however, invited him to give his daughter to her husband. Now, after a legal complaint, the case is in court.
Ghulam Hussain presented the certificate of a madrassa (Koranic school) that certifies Asma’s conversion and also presented a marriage certificate. Of course, explains Asma and her family’s lawyer, the documents are false and the signatures were extorted from the girl.
Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO "CLAAS", who is following the case, explained to Fides: "Cases of forced conversion and abduction of Christian and Hindu girls are increasing and show the failure of institutions that guarantee impunity. The police and judiciary are complicit and do not defend legality. For this reason, many Hindus and Christians of Pakistan, disheartened, have begun to emigrate to India and other countries: Pakistan does not protect them and they feel that their lives and their properties are at risk".
In Pakistan the abduction of girls of religious minorities and forced conversion to Islam is widespread: according to Fides sources, every year this phenomena concerns 700 Hindu and 300 Christian girls. These figures represent only the cases that come to light, or get to court. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 04/08/2016)

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