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» 05/27/2011
PAKISTAN
Faisalabad: Christian sisters kidnapped, forced to marry a wealthy Muslim
by Jibran Khan
The girl's father reported the kidnapping. In response, the police accused him of abusing alcohol and his daughters. Neighbour: the authorities overturned the facts, because they are colluding with criminals. Catholic priest killings and kidnappings of young Christian women common practice, encouraged by the mullahs and supported by the government.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - A powerful Muslim businessman, with the help of a group of accomplices, kidnapped two Christian sisters, forced them to convert to Islam and marry him. The girl's father reported the kidnapping to the police but the police blocked investigations by reversing the facts: the daughters fled because of their father’s violence. A priest from the diocese of Faisalabad points out that the kidnapping of young women has become "common practice", because the authorities and police are "puppets in the hands of extremists."

The father of two girls, Rehmat Masih is a Christian carpenter from Jhung District, in Faisalabad, Punjab province, an arena of repeated violence against religious minority. Muhammad Waseem - the parent explains to AsiaNews, - is a Muslim businessman in the area, long time leader of a banned extremist group. A few weeks ago he came to my house, along with gunmen, saying he was concerned about my daughters and wanted to marry them. " In case of refusal, the man continues, the Muslim businessman threatened to abduct the two girls.

Masih filed a complaint with the police, but authorities did not want to open an investigation. On May 24 the dramatic epilogue, "My daughters were returning from the market - he says - and a vehicle owned by Muhammad Waseem intercepted them and threw them inside, taking them away." The parent returned to the police to report the kidnapping. In response, officials said that "Waseem is a respected and admired businessman, the accusations against him are" false. "The authorities say the girls would fled because their father is an alcoholic who had "abused" them with "immoral actions."

A neighbour argues the defence of the Christian father, emphasizing his goodness and integrity. "I've known Rehmat for 20 years - Shahid Malik told AsiaNews – he is a decent man. I have never heard words out of place out of his mouth. " On the contrary, Muhammad Waseem is an influential man and we have seen him repeatedly threaten the Masih family. The police, he adds, are reversing the facts because "he can not do anything against Waseem, which is collusion."

The next day, May 25, Muhammad Waseem married by force Saima Masih, in the presence of Mullah Muhammad Qasim Zubair. With the ceremony, according to Islamic laws, the Christian woman was "converted" and has embraced the Muslim faith. Local sources also make clear that the religious leader who officiated the ceremony is linked to outlawed Islamist groups (-e-Sahaba Sipe), protagonists of numerous kidnappings of Hindu or Christian women.

Rehmat Masih is desperate: the police asked him to forget his daughters, leaving him indefenseless. "Instead of serving the Punjab government - says the father - [the police] are the servants of extremist groups."

Fr. John William, a priest of the diocese of Faisalabad, confirms that the kidnapping of young women has become "common practice", because the authorities and police are "puppets in the hands of extremists." In recent days, AsiaNews reported the tragedy of another young girl, again from Punjab, seized by force and forced to marry a Muslim (see AsiaNews, 12/05/2011 Punjab: Christian student nurse forced to convert to marry Muslim man).

Christian and Hindu girls, the priest continues, are forced to marry Muslims and convert to Islam, while police and local authorities "are paid" to settle the bureaucracy to avoid reports. The officials are in the hands of extremists and religious leaders in Friday sermons "speak openly of killing and kidnapping Christian girls." And the government, said Father John, "is complicit."

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See also
09/10/2008 PAKISTAN
Christian girl, kidnapped and converted by Muslims, returned to family
by Qaiser Felix
08/22/2007 PAKISTAN
Two Christian girls of 11 and 16 kidnapped, converted to Islam and forced to marry
by Qaiser Felix
07/16/2008 PAKISTAN
Kidnapped Christian girls, judge ratifies marriage and conversion
by Qaiser Felix
08/22/2008 PAKISTAN
Kidnapped Christian girls, forced to convert and marry Muslims: difficulties for the return of one
by Qaiser Felix
01/23/2006 PAKISTAN
Muslim cleric arrested for the murder of a young Catholic
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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