A Christian teenager in Pakistan was recently abducted and forcefully converted to Islam, according to International Christian Concern. And now her abductors are using the country’s legal system to keep her from returning home.
The Christian persecution watchdog group reported that last month, 13-year-old Sadaf Masih was abducted by three men. The girl’s family reached out to her abductors for her safe return, but after eight days, the abductors told them that Masih was married and had converted to Islam. They then showed the family a marriage certificate which falsely claimed she was 18, an age old enough to get legally married in Pakistan.
When her family protested, the abductors threatened them and warned that if they tried to contact the teen, there would be “consequences of the law.”
ICC notes that abductions and forced conversions to Islam are common for religious minorities in Pakistan, as an estimated 1,000 women from Pakistan’s Christian and Hindu communities are abducted, raped, and forcefully converted to Islam each year. Pakistan ranks as the fifth worst nation in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List.
William Stark, regional manager for South Asia at ICC, said rape is used as a weapon to entrap victims, and conversion and forced-marriage is used to prevent any legal recourse: “Another disturbing element of forced conversion cases is the issue of custody. When abductors claim a victim has been married to them, especially when the victim is a woman, they maintain custody over their victim. This makes it especially difficult for Christian women who have been abducted, forcefully converted to Islam, and forcefully married to their abductors to provide testimony against their abductors.”