People of different religions protested against forced conversions in Pakistan
On March 30th, Pakistanis of all religious backgrounds came together to protest in Lahore over forced conversions in the country. Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs rallied together saying that “the minorities are afraid, a law must be passed to eliminate forced conversions”.
In a country that has deep rooted Muslim and patriarchal traditions, every year at least 1,000 girls are forcibly converted to Islam and recant their faith.
Stories like the one of Saima Iqbal, a 35-year-old Pakistani Christian mother of three, who was abducted by a Muslim man and allegedly forced to convert to Islam happen way too often.
According ot Fox News, seven people were arrested on March 25 by police in Pakistan in connection to an alleged abduction, forced religious conversion and illegal marriage of two minor Hindu girls. Also, India’s foreign ministry detailed three more examples of forced marriages of Hindu or Sikh women in Pakistan over the past two years.
In the last 40 days, nine young girls of Christian and Hindu backgrounds have experienced this.
With a unified front, those gathered specifically highlighted two people: Mian Mithu and Ayub Jan Sarhandi.
Both are Islamic leaders who have been accused of multiple abductions and conversion cases but have never faced consequences from their actions.
International Christian Concern reported that one leader was quoted as saying, “it is unfortunate that many do not consider conversions extracted by force as a violation of human rights.” Pakistani Christians, a minority in the country by religion, also experience social consequences that make them disadvantaged.
The call is for the international community to recognize when human rights are being violated in all manners.