A Christian teenager in Pakistan claims to have been beaten, forced to convert to Islam and married off to a 45-year-old Muslim man as religious minority females in the Muslim-majority country continue to face extreme persecution because of their gender and faith.
Neha Pervaiz, a 15-year-old who lives in the Ittehad Town neighborhood of Karachi, recently told ucanews.com about how she was forced into an Islamic marriage last month when she went to her aunt’s house with the intent of taking care of a sick relative.
“I was taken by my aunt, a Muslim convert, to her house on April 28 to help her look after her sick son,” Pervaiz told ucanews.com, an outlet that exclusively covers Catholic news in Asia. “But there I was asked to marry a Muslim man named Imran. When I refused, they beat me up and threatened to kill my minor brother who was with me.”
Pervaiz alleged that she was taken to a room where she was raped by Imran, a divorcee.
“They then pressurized me to convert to Islam and marry Imran,” she added.
The next day, Pervaiz said that she was taken before an Islamic cleric, where she was forced to recite the Quran and was given a new name: Fatima. Then on April 30, Pervaiz said she was taken to a court where she was legally married to Imran.
It wasn’t until May 5 that Pervaiz was able to escape from the home with the help of her captor’s daughter.
The whole time she was away, Pervaiz’s mother said that she was left clueless about what was being done to her daughter.
“I was shocked to learn what had happened to my daughter as I was under the impression that she was at her aunty’s house to help her,” Jamila Masih told the website.
What happened to Pervaiz is not uncommon in the South Asian nation, where countless religious minority girls are kidnapped, forcibly converted and forced into marriages with older men.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith