International Christian Concern | September 11, 2020
In a recent interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Asia Bibi called on Pakistan’s Prime Minister to protect the country’s persecuted Christian minority. Bibi went on to specifically highlight the suffering of Christian girls who are abducted, forcefully married, and forcefully converted to Islam.
Bibi became the face of persecuted Christians in Pakistan after she was wrongfully sentenced to death under the country’s notorious blasphemy laws in 2010. After nearly a decade of legal battles, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted Bibi and she was allowed to flee to Canada with her family to seek asylum.
While speaking to Alessandro Monteduro, the Director of ACN’s Italian National Office, Bibi and Montedure discussed the cases of Huma Younas and Maira Shahbaz. Both Christian teens have been abducted by adult Muslim men, forcefully converted to Islam, and married to one of their abductors.
According to local reports, Maira has escaped the custody of her abductor and is in hiding with her family. Huma, unfortunately, reportedly remains confined to a signal room in her abductor’s house.
“I know that these girls are being persecuted and I appeal to Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, please help our young girls,” Bibi said. “None of them should have to suffer like this!”
According to a 2014 study by The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, an estimated 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian communities are abducted, forcefully married to their captors, and forcibly converted to Islam every year. The issue of religion is also often injected into cases of sexual assault to place victims from religious minority communities at a disadvantage. Playing upon religious biases, perpetrators know they can cover up and justify their crimes by introducing an element of religion.