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  • » 04/13/2012, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Lahore: Christians and Hindus against "religious fascism" and forced conversions to Islam

    Jibran Khan

    Young Christian and Hindu women are being abducted, forcibly converted and married off against their will. Young Christian men and boys are being forcibly circumcised. Young Hindu men are jailed for befriending young Muslim women. In the past five years, between 400 and 500 Christians have been forced to convert to Islam.

    Lahore (AsiaNews) - "Several young Hindu women have been kidnapped from their homes in the dark of night, and dragged off to be forcibly converted to Islam. Usually, this conversion is accompanied by a signing of the nikahnama or marriage contract, which strengthens the kidnappers side of the story," said Dilip Kumar, a Hindu activist. The kidnappers want complete freedom to convert, but "We can't just sit back and watch what our community is going through," he added.

    Yesterday, together with dozens of Hindus and Christians and representatives of human rights NGOs, Kumar took part in a demonstration against the forced conversion of young men and women and the government's slow response to what has been called "religious fascism".

    "It is a shame that Christian and Hindu girls are kidnapped and forced to convert, in most cases they are latter sold in sex slavery / prostitution," said Fr John Mall. "This is becoming a hideous business and the authorities have kept a blind eye on the whole matter." He was referring in particular to the case of Rinkle Kumari, a young woman who was abducted, converted and forced to marry a Muslim.

    "Appearing before the court, Rinkle said: 'Kill me but don't send me back to prison or to the person who converted me.' What did the Supreme Court? Instead of allowing her to meet her family, she was sent to jail for three weeks to think about converting to Islam. Had she said that she had converted, the court would have sent her to her husband."

    "In the last five years, there have been up to 400 to 500 conversions of Christians," said Peter Jacob, national director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace. "And something equally horrifying: I know of forcible circumcision of young men in Punjab and one in Baluchistan. Where are we going, one asks?"

    "Two months ago, a Muslim girl became friends with three Hindu boys. The Muslim family got the boys arrested and the Hindu families killed. This is barbarianism," activist Diyal Singh said.

    In yesterday's rally, demonstrators also shouted slogans against Lahore's police chief, who recently appeared before a court in connection with the demolition of the Catholic-owned Gosh-e-Aman building.

    One of the parties to a lawsuit against the police official is a Christian woman, Zenobia Richard, who accuses him of desecrating Bibles, a statue of Our Lady and rosaries.

    The court ordered him to submit a report of the incident within three weeks.

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    See also

    06/02/2014 PAKISTAN

    Christian girl abducted, converted and forced to marry a Muslim in Lahore
    The family of Samariya Nadeem staged a protest this morning in front of the city's press club. For the past three weeks, their 16-year-old daughter has been in the hands of a wealthy landowner. As police and the authorities fail to free her, the Catholic Church calls for justice on the family's behalf. But for Muslim cleric, it is "not illegal to abduct and convert non-Muslims".

    11/08/2016 16:32:00 PAKISTAN
    Pakistan marks Minorities Day but does not guarantee their rights

    Today is 69th anniversary of the historic speech by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of modern Pakistan, before the constituent assembly of the newly-established state. The Day honours the contribution of minorities to nation-building. Christian, Hindu and Sikh leaders want justice. Priorities are work, education and an end to forced conversions.



    26/02/2016 16:22:00 PAKISTAN
    Christian women in Pakistan forcibly converted to Islam and married off to their kidnappers

    Tahira, 21, and Reema Bibi, 20, were abducted near their home last December. The Muslim men who took them, raped them and forcibly married them, and then kept them segregated. At least 1,000 Christian women are forcibly converted in Pakistan each year. If they escape, the police arrests a family member.



    09/01/2017 16:56:00 PAKISTAN
    Sindh rejects law against forced conversions, a big disappointment for Christians and Hindus

    In November, the provincial assembly had adopted the law unanimously, outlawing forced conversion and marriage of minors. Every year about a thousand girls and young women are forced to repudiate their religion. Thirteen lawmakers who drafted the bill received death threats.



    31/03/2017 18:46:00 PAKISTAN
    Christian and Muslim activists want prosecutor disbarred for pressuring accused to convert to Islam

    Syed Anees Shah acknowledged that he promised freedom in exchange for conversion to 42 Christian prisoners jailed in 2015 after a Taliban attack on two churches. Government and courts should take action against such “abhorrent behaviour".





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