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These cases include Sidra Bibi, a 14-year-old girl who was raped, tortured and impregnated by a Muslim man from her village; Samina Ayub, a 17- year-old Christian girl who was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam, and renamed Fatima Bibi; and Shazia Bibi, a 19-year-old Christian maid who was forced by her Muslim employer to marry the employer’s son.
Regrettably, escaping one’s captor can also have potentially deadly consequences, as was the case of two recent escapees.
In May 2009 Alfred Arifa, a 27-year old Catholic girl, was kidnapped, raped and drugged. When she awoke to her senses, she was told she had converted to Islam and married one of her abductors. For two agonizing years, Arifa was drugged, constantly beaten and locked in the house before she managed to escape her tormentors in early August 2011.
Despite filing a complaint against her captors, Pakistani police have not pursued the case except to remark that they were “happy” Arifa had converted to Islam. Today, Arifa and her family are on the run from her “husband” who says that since Arifa is now a Muslim she can’t run away from home and must return or she will be killed along with her entire family.
Then, in early August 2011 Mariam Gill, a young Christian woman from Kahota, a town near Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad, was abducted by a local Muslim, Muhammad Junaid, who forcibly converted Mariam to Islam before then marrying her.
Despite initially delaying investigating the case, local officials did end up returning Mariam back to her family. However, they pressed no charges against her kidnapper and instead urged both parties to come to some kind of an agreement. Unfortunately, that directive may prove difficult to carry out since Junaid has since issued threats, saying that if he did not get Mariam back, there would be “terrible consequences.”
Sadly, the abduction, rape and forced conversion of young Pakistani Christian girls is just one part of a larger pattern of abuse being levied against Christians of all ages and genders by Pakistan’s Muslim population.
Some of these assaults are aggressive but nonlethal displays of intolerance, but many more are extremely violent incidents in which Christians are killed as blood sport for enraged Muslim mobs. A report by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) states nearly 50 Christians were killed extra-judicially in Pakistan by mobs or individuals in 2010 alone.
Still, the assault on these helpless young Pakistani girls has taken the war against Pakistan’s Christian community to a whole new and disturbing level. As one Pakistani nun lamented, “The Christian girls are the weakest and most vulnerable, because their communities are poor, defenseless and … easily exposed to harassment and threats.”
Unfortunately, as the evidence points out, the suffering of these young girls doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.
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