PAKISTAN: Christians call for a National Day Against Abduction and Forced Conversion of Girls

Protestants and Catholics will unite on May 26 to ask for an end to the kidnapping, forced conversion to Islam, and forced marriage of young women from minority religions.

By Massimo Introvigne

Bitter Winter (17.05.2024) – It is a plague denounced by religious minorities, by a few international media, including “Bitter Winter,” and even by the United Nations, in fact two times. Girls from minority religions, primarily Hindu and Christian, are routinely kidnapped in Pakistan, forcibly converted to Islam, and forcibly married to their abductors, who in most cases have already raped them. Some shrines and mosques managed by radical clerics have converted themselves into “factories” of false conversions. Many of the victims are minor girls, but their kidnappers claim that birth certificates in Pakistan are often incorrect, and their “biological age” is in fact 18 or older.

The police do act in some cases, but courts of law are extremely reluctant to declare conversions to Islam invalid. They rely on suspicious videos where the victims state that they converted and married out of their own will. Even in cases where girls unequivocally tell them that they were kidnapped and did not want to convert, as it happened with Chandra Maharaj, the courts do not believe them and declare the marriages valid.

Now Christians have decided that enough is enough. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, the Protestant National Council of Churches, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, and the Christian Awakening Movement have decided to join forces and to call for a national day of protest, May 26 next, against the abduction, forced conversion, and forced marriage of Christian girls. All sermons in all Christian churches throughout Pakistan on Sunday May 26 will be devoted to the issue.

Christians are aware that the problem also affect other religious minorities, and that there are Muslims who condemn this obnoxious practice. They have asked all religious communities in Pakistan to join with them on May 26 and ask the government to act.

A joint press conference of all main Christian denominations in Pakistan against violence and discrimination

Further reading about FORB in Pakistan on HRWF website