Christian Girl, 13, Forcibly Married, Converted

“Police in Karachi, Pakistan are ignoring the kidnapping and forcible conversion to Islam of a 13-year-old Christian girl by a 45-year-old Muslim whose two brothers are police officials, sources said. Ali Azhar, a neighbor of the victim’s Catholic family, abducted Arzoo Raja on Oct. 13, and her family went to police that same day, said her father, Raja Lal. ‘When we failed to find Arzoo, we registered a kidnapping case with the local police station,’ Lal said. ‘On Oct. 15 we were summoned to the station, where we were shown documents which claimed that Arzoo was 18 and had willingly converted to Islam after marrying Ali Azhar.’ Police have shown no interest in arresting the accused in spite of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) records showing Arzoo’s age as 13, as she was born on July 31, 2007, he said. ‘Two brothers of the accused are police officials, and they are using their influence to protect him,’ Ghazala Shafique, a Christian rights activist, told Morning Star News. Agha, a prominent Muslim lawyer, has taken up the case pro bono, a great relief to the grief-stricken parents who have lost their jobs in the search for justice. Shafique said it was the second case of forced conversion of underage Christian girls in Karachi in a year. In October 2019, 14-year-old Huma Younas was kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam, she said. ‘Forced conversion is often disguised as voluntary conversion and both the provincial and federal governments need to act against this persecution,’ she said.”

“Christian Girl, 13, Forcibly Married, Converted,” Morning Star News, Oct. 26, 2020

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