Pakistani Court Uses Sharia Law to Validate Marriage of Abducted 13-Year-Old Christian Girl to Muslim Man

Arzoo Raja

A Pakistani court cited Sharia law to validate the marriage of a 13-year-old Christian girl to a 44-year-old Muslim man who abducted her earlier this month. 

Arzoo Raja’s parents bowed to touch the feet of Pakistani police officers, begging to see their daughter who was kidnapped by Ali Azhar from their home on Oct. 13, but they refused.

Instead, the high court of Pakistan’s Sindh province changed their daughter’s name to the more Islamic “Arzoo Fatima” and announced that she “understood and realized that Islam is a universal religion,” International Christian Concern reported.

Raja wasn’t able to tell her parents or anyone else what she “understood” about Islam because her abductor, whom the court referred to as her “husband,” has had her locked in a single room after getting her pregnant, International Christian Concern’s South Asia Regional Manager Will Stark told The Christian Post. Azhar has children near Raja’s age.

The last time Raja’s family heard from her was a July phone call, Stark said, three months after Azhar first kidnapped her. When she appeared in the courtroom yesterday, police refused to let her run to her parents, Morning Star News reported.

“Raja’s case isn’t a one-off decision. It’s part of a pattern,” Stark said. “Conversion to Islam is being used by the courts to circumvent the secular law.”

In Pakistan, child marriage combined with a “conversion” to Islam commonly covers up rape, he said. Another girl in a similar situation, Maira Shahbaz was abducted and gang-raped. Her captor told her that if she didn’t back him with her court testimony, he would release video of the rape online, Stark said. It’s likely something similar happened to Raja.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jackson Elliott

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