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Christians denied food, forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan

Christians denied food, forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan

The International Christian Concern (ICC), which works to raise public awareness and provide advocacy for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities around the world, has reported several incidents of Christians and Hindus being denied food aid in Pakistan because of their religious identity.

"In some incidents, these individuals were asked to convert to Islam to receive desperately needed assistance to survive the Covid-19 pandemic," the ICC reported recently.

Highlighting the plight of minorities in Pakistan during the pandemic, the <a href="https://www.persecution.org/2020/06/04/icc-provides-covid-19-aid-persecuted-families-pakistan/?utm_campaign=coschedule&amp;utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=persecutionnews">report</a> brought to light several cases where citizens were denied access to aid because of their religion.

"Christian people in the villages are suffering. We experienced rejection, which was heart breaking. My children did not eat for two days. Also, Muslims indirectly pressured us to join their faith," Nadir Masih, a Christian who was denied food aid, told ICC.

The human rights organization has documented several incidents of people being denied food because of their faith.

"In Karachi, Christians and Hindus were refused access to food aid by the staff of Saylani Welfare International Trust. In a village in Kasur district, outside of Lahore, more than 100 Christian families were excluded from a food aid distribution. ICC has also documented five cases in which dozens of families were denied food aid because ‘Masih,’ a Christian surname, appeared in their national identity cards,” the ICC reported recently.

“In some instances, Christians and other religious minorities were pressured into converting to Islam to gain access to food aid. Dawat-e-Islami, an Islamic TV channel in Pakistan, claimed an Islamic organization converted non-Muslims to Islam using Covid-19 food aid. The cleric on television brought up an example of a man who recently converted to Islam in exchange for aid and encouraged others to follow this practice," it said.

The discrimination isn't just limited to food. Pakistan has, in the last few months, witnessed several land grabbing, desecration of religious places of minorities, and abductions, forced marriage and conversions.

The kidnap and forced marriage of 14-year-old Maira Shahbaz in Faisalabad last month has even been highlighted by the international community.

On her way to home in Madina, Maira was allegedly abducted on April 28 by a man named Mohammad Naksh and his armed accomplices and then forcefully converted to Islam and married.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en">In mid-May, a 14 yr old minor Christian girl, Maira Shahbaz was abducted with the same pattern on 14th May, and then converted to Islam.

Any outrage? No!!! because for Pakistan only <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackLivesMatter?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackLivesMatter</a> for, not minorities.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SpeakUpForPakMinorities?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SpeakUpForPakMinorities</a> <a href="https://t.co/t8Ms77YqoX">pic.twitter.com/t8Ms77YqoX</a></p>
— Voice of Pakistan Minority (@voice_minority) <a href="https://twitter.com/voice_minority/status/1268075305639575557?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 3, 2020</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Independent Catholic News (ICN) <a href="https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39611">reported</a> how Maira's family has now moved High Court after the Faisalabad Magistrates Court declared Maira’s age to be 19 and that she is validly wedded to Nakash.

Family's lawyer, Khalil Tahir Sandhu said: "The case of Maira being a minor is very strong. There are so many gaps and weaknesses in the opponent’s argument. In cases like this, what we so often see is that after two or three years, the people send back the girl to their family by which time they have satisfied their lust and have had enough of her."

As per a report released by Pakistan's Movement for Solidarity and Peace, more than 1,000 Hindu and Christian women — generally between the age of 12 to 25 — are abducted and forcibly converted to Islam every year..