PLEASE PRAY FOR CHRISTIAN VICTIMS OF ABDUCTION, RAPE, FORCED MARRIAGE, AND CONVERSION
Written by: Jeffrey S. Ram, Toronto, Canada, May 18, 2021
According to Open Doors U.S.A.'s 2021 World Watch List, Pakistan ranks as the fifth most dangerous country in the world for Christians. Open Doors observes, "Christians face extreme persecution in every area of their lives." Christian girls are abducted, raped, forcibly married to their rapists, and converted to Islam. Police and judiciary act as accomplices in these crimes. Pakistan's government makes feeble efforts to protect the Christian and other non-Muslim minorities. Despite various dangers and difficulties, Pakistan's Christians bravely continue to uphold their faith.
THE CURSE OF KIDNAPPING, RAPE, AND FORCIBLE MARRIAGE AND CONVERSION OF MINORS
Every year many Christian girls, mainly minors, endure the traumatic experience of abduction, rape, and forced marriage, and conversion to Islam. According to the Lahore-based Centre for Social Justice (C.S.J.), Pakistan's media reports showed that 162 cases of questionable conversions of minority girls took place between 2013 and November 2020. About 44 percent of victims were Christian girls and women.
The Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan claimed that every year approximately 1,000 female Christians and Hindus aged between 12 and 25 are abducted by Muslim men and subjected to forced marriage and conversion.
Maira Shahbaz: In April 2020, three men kidnapped 14-year-old Maira in Madina Town, near Faisalabad. A Muslim man raped her and forced her to marry him and convert to Islam. The Lahore High Court decreed that she should stay with her husband and be a "good wife." Maira escaped from her captivity and was in hiding. More than 12,000 people signed Maira's asylum petition and an open letter to U.K.'s Prime Minister Boris Johnson supporting her request for refuge.
Arzoo Masih: Ali Azhar, a 44-year-old Muslim, kidnapped 13-year-old Arzoo in Karachi on October 13, 2020. After two days, police informed her father that Azhar had produced a marriage certificate describing that she was 18 and had converted to Islam. The Sindh High Court granted her custody to the abductor and rapist Azhar. After protests by the Christian community, the judges reviewed the case, established that Arzoo was below the legal age to marry, and ordered that she be freed.
Huma Masih: Fourteen-year-old Huma was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, and married off to her abductor. The Sindh High Court order said that as per the Sharia law, even if Huma were underage, the marriage between her and her alleged abductor, Jabbar, would be valid as she already had her first menstrual cycle. Huma's parents filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
Farah Shaheen: Three men kidnapped twelve-year-old Farah from her home in Faisalabad on June 25, 2020. One of them, 45-year-old Khizar Ahmad Ali, forcibly converted her to Islam and married her. Police freed Farah from her abductor in December. She had been shackled and attached to a rope. The district court of Faisalabad sent Farah to a shelter house.
Sonia Bibi: On November 30, 2020, 24-year-old Sonia was shot dead by Muhammad Shehzad, a Muslim man, in Rawalpindi. Sonia had refused to marry Shehzad and convert to Islam.
The heinous crimes of rape, forced marriage, and conversion are the worst forms of persecution. Pakistan's government should protect the minor girls of the Christian minority community.
UNJUST POLICE AND JUDICIARY, AND INEFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT
Police officers, judges, and government leaders fear the Islamic extremist groups' violence; therefore, they are afraid to take necessary legal and judicial action. The police delay writing the first information report (F.I.R.) of minority girls' abductions. The families are threatened to withdraw the cases. If the kidnapper-husband says that the girl is 18, or has had her first period, judges do not question the age or abduction or conversions of young girls. They do not require an independent medical examination to determine the age of the minor. Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to take strict action against anyone targeting minorities. Still, old prejudices, hate, and practices continue with impunity.
THE DEHUMANIZATION AND MARGINALIZATION OF PAKISTAN'S CHRISTIAN MINORITY
A hate-filled and brainwashed majority misuses the state, police, and judiciary to persecute, torment, marginalize and dehumanize the Christian community. The attacks on Christians by the Muslim majority are intended to debase and humiliate the Christians and gain so much control over their lives that they accept their unequal and inferior status. The social acceptance and approval of these inhuman actions indicate the decline of the moral and human values of the majority community.
THE BLOOD OF MARTYRS IS THE SEED OF THE CHURCH
Lord Jesus Christ assured, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." -BIBLE, Matthew 5:11-12
SELF-EMPOWERMENT AND CHRISTIAN DEFENCE LEAGUE
Christian minorities worldwide should learn from the western Jewish minorities how to empower themselves with education, hard work, and smartness. They should also follow the example of the Jewish Defense League to protect their community.
PLEASE PRAY FOR PAKISTAN'S CHRISTIANS
Even though Pakistan Christians are hopeless and helpless, they continue to face oppressive conditions valiantly. The bias, hatred, and violence against Christian minorities will continue. The police, judges, and government officials will also provide the culprits with protection and security cover. Therefore, Pakistani Christians will have to learn to live under these hostile conditions by managing their lives with vigilance, intelligence, and tact. Please pray that the governments of Pakistan and its provinces provide security to its Christian citizens by enacting a law against forced conversion and by strictly enforcing the existing criminal laws. Pray for the safety of the Christian human rights activists. Pray for Christians to have the courage and strength to bear the sufferings. Pray that conditions for Pakistan's Christians improve and become better.
[Toronto, Canada-based, ReformAdvocate.com encourages the Christian minorities, immigrants, women and other weaker groups to empower themselves. The subscription is free. Please visit ReformAdvocate.com and subscribe. THANKS]
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