It must be one of the most distressing things any parent could hear: “Your daughter has been abducted.” Tragically, if you are a Christian family in Pakistan, it’s a very real danger.
12 year-old Saima was working with her parents on the brick kiln to support her family. Last march, the unthinkable happened and she was abducted by two men. The abduction took place when Saima was collecting water from a hand pump near her home.
The abductors didn’t want money: most Christian families are way too poor to afford any kind of ransom. When young girls are taken, they are often forcibly converted to Islam and married off to Muslim man.
It’s a tactic to intimidate the Christian community and stem the growth of Christians. By doing this, you are weakening Christian families, and also preventing their children growing up as Christians and starting their own families.
Samia’s family were used to persecution and oppression. Saima’s mother explains: “Our daughters are often sexually harassed by influential Muslims”.
Saima’s parents complained to the police about the abduction. However the officer in charge as the family were unable to bribe him.
The case was a shocking one: the men forced poor Saima to convert to Islam. Then they married her to a Muslim man against her will, producing a fake marriage certificate.
However, the family were able to contact CLAAS in Pakistan, who helped them register a police case against the kidnappers, who were known to the family. They also registered a case against the clerk at the police station for not raising the case in the first place.
The abduction was taken to court. Saimi was freed from the abductors. However, instead of returning her to her family, she was placed in a shelter home. It took a second court hearing to return her to her family where she belongs.
This gives you some idea of the discrimination Christians face when they are wronged like this.
Last year we were able to help get back half a dozen Christian girls from their abductors. We are working on more cases like Saima’s. However, cases like this are arising more and more regularly around Pakistan.
We urgently need your regular support to ensure we can take on these cases and fight the evils of abduction and forced marriage.
Here’s how you can make a difference:
SHARE GOD’S LOVE THIS EASTER
Tearing a young girl away from her family and forcing her into marriage with an unsuitable man is a truly wicked thing to do. Help us as we challenge such a shocking trend.
If you would like to find out more or make a donation online please visit: www.claas.org.uk
CLAAS (Centre of Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement) is a Christian organisation committed to supporting Christians and others who face persecution in Pakistan. We work hard to provide legal aid, shelter and humanitarian relief, whilst campaigning for human rights and changes in the law.
Registered charity No. 1141335.