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Muslims Forcibly Convert Christian Maids in Pakistan, Relative Says

Muslims who employed two young Christian women as live-in house cleaners in Lahore, Pakistan have forcibly converted them to Islam and are not permitting Christian relatives to see them, sources said.

Nasreen Bibi, a Christian aunt of 18-year-old Maham Manzoor and 20-year-old Anum Manzoor, told Morning Star News that the separate employers of each of the sisters forced them to convert to Islam and are holding them against their will, and that police and courts have allowed it.

“Both Anum and Maham have been forcibly converted to turn them into slaves, and the police and court have unfortunately acted as facilitators of this crime,”  told Bibi .

Bibi and her husband had become guardians of the two sisters five years ago, when her brother died and the girls’ mother abandoned them. Bibi, a member of the Church of Pakistan, found work for the two girls as full-time maids in the Muslim households two years ago in order to supplement her own income as a maid, she said.

“Neither of them ever said anything about converting to Islam,” she said.

On Dec. 7 Anum told her she was excited about Christmas, and Bibi planned to take the two sisters shopping the next day to buy her nieces new clothes for Christmas, Bibi said. On Dec. 8 Bibi first went to pick up Maham at the house where she worked. She rang the doorbell for nearly an hour without anyone answering, she said.

“It was clear that they wanted me to go away from there,” Bibi said. “Sensing that something was wrong, I started pounding the gate with a stone as well as shouting the family’s names at the top of my lungs. The clamor forced them to open the gate and let me in.”

The Muslim couple, Muhammad Asim and his wife Asma, refused to let her see Maham, claiming that she had converted to Islam and did not want to see her, Bibi said

When she remained, Asim telephoned the police, and they arrived soon after, she said. Bibi told police that the couple was refusing to let her see her niece, and when Asim and his wife repeated that she had converted to Islam, an officer told them to bring the Maham out.

Kidnapped Christian girls and young women in Pakistan are commonly threatened that they or their family members will be killed if they refuse to say they converted to Islam of their own free will, according to rights advocates.

Bibi then received a phone call from Anum’s employer, Muhammad Azmat – who is related to the Muslim couple who employed Maham, she said.

“Azmat told me to forget about my nieces, as both of them were Muslims now,” Bibi said. “He also warned me not to come to his house, threatening that I would rot in jail if I did. I could not believe my ears. Both of my nieces were being held hostage in the name of religion, and there was nothing I could do to rescue them.”

Bibi’s family pleaded with police to help them recover her two nieces. Officers were slow to act but eventually presented her two nieces and their employers in court on Dec. 15, Bibi said.

“We hoped that the court would consider the circumstances under which these conversion claims were being made, but to our horror the court rejected our pleas and handed the girls back in their Muslim employers’ custody,” she said.

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