Christian girl forced to marry and convert to Islam reunited with her family

Published 18 February 2020  |  
(Photo: Unsplash/Sameer Akhtari)

A teenage Christian girl who was kidnapped, raped, and then forced to convert to Islam and to marry a Muslim man has been reunited with her family.

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) said Sneha, 14, was abducted on January 14 by a man named only as Zeeshan after she refused his proposal.

She reported that six other men took part in the abduction as she was making her way home from school, and that she was taken to an unknown location where she was gang raped and beaten.

She was then made to sign blank pieces of paper which were later used to produce a marriage certificate and certificate of conversion, CLAAS said.

After her family reported her missing, a court ordered an investigation and she was rescued five days later by the police.

Christian human rights groups report that forced conversion and marriage is a common threat for girls and women in Pakistan.

Aid to the Church in Need is supporting another victim, 14-year-old Huma Younus, who was taken from her home on October 10, 2019, and married to a Muslim man.

The court in Sindh deemed the marriage valid under Sharia law because Huma has already had her first menstrual cycle.

Huma's parents, Younus and Nagheena Masih, have pleaded with the international community for help, fearing that her case will be repeatedly delayed until she turns 18.

Her parents have vowed to take her case to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Her plight was raised in the UK Houses of Parliament earlier this month by Brendan O'Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute, who said it was a "critical issue".

Responding to his concern, UK foreign office minister Heather Wheeler said: "We condemn all forced marriages. If I did not say it loudly enough, I say it again now."

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