One of our team leaders in the Muslim world contacted me just days ago… She shared that there has been an increase in the kidnapping of young Pakistani Christian girls, aged 12 to 15 years of age by older Muslim men. Once kidnapped they are coerced to marry their kidnapper and become a Muslim. Police often ignore the pleadings of the parents to return their young daughters, and sadly protect the kidnapper from any charges.
THE STORY OF A 13-YEAR-OLD GIRL
Sister Aksa, our woman’s director, shared the disturbing story of 13-year-old Arzoo Raja who was kidnapped by a neighbour, 44-year-old Ali Azhar, while she was playing outside her home in the city of Karachi while her parents were at work on Oct. 13th. A relative called to inform them that Arzoo had gone missing. The family immediately filed a kidnapping complaint with the police.
Two days later the police summoned the family to the police station where they were handed marriage papers which claimed Arzoo was 18 and had willingly converted to Islam and married without being put under any pressure.
Her parents then presented Arzoo’s birth certificate confirming her age as 13 years old. Sadly, the court initially sided with the Muslim husband, indicating that they believed she converted and married of her own free will. As a result, the case led to protests in a number of cities across Pakistan.
“I WANT MY DAUGHTER BACK”
Then in a scene that broke my heart… I learned that during the court proceedings, Arzoo’s mother, Rita Masih, burst into tears saying “Let me see my daughter! She’s in there but they [the kidnappers, the police and the court] won’t allow me to see my innocent little daughter. Arzoo, my sweetheart, come to your mom and give me a big hug, my dear daughter. Your sister got sick from what happened to you; your brother no longer eats because they want you home. My daughter is only 13, she is innocent. They [the kidnappers] keep lying and won’t let me meet my little girl. I want my daughter back! Please, please, help me!”.
After saying this she collapsed, emotionally overcome. Still the court, the police and the kidnapper did not allow her to meet her daughter. In another room, Arzoo was watching. She was crying and spread her arms as if to hug her mother, but the police kept her away.
Shortly afterwards a video was released showing Arzoo declaring that she converted to Islam of her own free will. But activists and relatives say the video was extorted from her because “the child was brainwashed” since she doesn’t even know the ABC’s of Islam.
In the end, under great public pressure the judges finally decided to separate Arzoo from her captor, annulling her marriage and arresting her kidnapper. Arzoo now resides in a women’s shelter for the time being.
CHRISTIANS ARE PLEADING FOR OUR HELP
As a result of incidents like this local churches and Christians are pleading for strong teaching to help girls and young women deal with situations like this.
Our AsiaLink team has decided to organize and direct a special 3 day Women’s/Family Empowerment Conference entitled ‘Me and My Family’, November 27 – 29th, that will focus on issues surrounding the kidnapping and Muslim conversion of young women. The special sessions will seek to answer why situations like this happen, and how to prevent and protect one’s family and children from such attacks. It will bring awareness and education to young Christian woman and will be life changing!
According to UNICEF, 21% of girls in Pakistan, a nation of almost 223 million, are married before the age of 18 and 3% are married before the age of 15.
We need a financial miracle to cover all the expenses of this conference. We’ve already raised almost $1,000. Would you pray with me that God would provide the $3,300 that is still needed to cover this conference?
We are asking God to give 33 partners who will give $100 each. Perhaps you’re able to give more – we URGENTLY need your help now!
Thank you for partnering with AsiaLink to see God at work!
Yours for Asia’s Harvest,
(Reverend) Dale R. Hiscock
PS: In order to save costs – please send your gift by doing a bank e-Transfer – just email your gift to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!