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Pakistan: Christians fight forced conversions

As we have documented many times here at ChristianPersecution.com, the kidnapping and forced conversion of young Christian and other girls from religious minority groups in Pakistan is all too common in that country. Kidnapping, forced conversion, and forced marriage of Christian and Hindu girls Pakistan takes place repeatedly. Authorities for the most part turn a blind eye and frequently refuse to help the victims at all.

Pakistan’s small and courageous Orthodox Christian community is as vulnerable to this persecution as are the rest of Pakistan’s Christians. 

For previous coverage of forced conversions and the persecution of Christians in Pakistan in general, see here.

“Christians fight forced conversions in Pakistan,” by Kamran Chaudhry, UCA News, August 18, 2021:

Simran Masih, 15, was kidnapped while her parents attended a funeral in Faisalabad city in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Her 14-year-old cousin has also been missing since Aug. 11. They are members of the Salvation Army Church in Warburton city of Punjab.

“She was taking care of her brother, who has been affected by polio since birth. At 4pm, she went to a nearby shop to buy some food for her siblings when two Muslim sanitary workers dragged her into a rickshaw. Her cousin rushed outside after hearing her cries,” Iqbal Masih, her father, told UCA News.

“The culprits were armed. One was our former neighbor. My wife, a diabetic, has fallen ill with depression. We want our daughter back.”

Local police arrested two relatives of the culprits, who are still at large in Warburton.

Catholic priests involved with the bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace cite forced conversion as the biggest challenge for the Pakistan Church.

According to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) UK, Simran is the latest victim of forced marriage from a religious minority. The Christian charity, dedicated to helping persecuted Christians in Pakistan, has recorded over two dozen such cases this year.

“The majority of cases are of Christian girls from Punjab. The kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage of teenage Christian and Hindu girls have become an everyday matter. Their parents are fearful of their future,” CLAAS UK director Nasir Saeed said in an Aug. 16 statement.

“It is frustrating as the government and law enforcement agencies — those with power — are aware of the situation but turn a blind eye. The Islam-influenced judiciary system has also become a safety net for pedophiles and rapists who take advantage of the Islamic faith’s inherent good deeds to justify their criminal minds.”…

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