by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A 15-year-old Catholic girl in Faisalabad, Pakistan was abducted by a Muslim man earlier this month and has now been forced to marry him, Morning Star News (MSN) reports. Rights groups report that at least 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls and women are forcibly married to Muslim men every year in Pakistan.
Saba Masih was abducted on May 20 from the Madina Town area of Faisalabad while on her way to work, MSN reports. Saba’s father Nadeem Masih told MSN the kidnapper was their 45-year-old neighbor, Muhammad Yasir, who dragged Saba away in a rickshaw. “Yasir has already been married thrice but does not have children from either of his wives,” Masih explained. said.
Desperate for Saba’s release, her family reported the abduction to the police, who have not helped. “The police are not cooperating with us,” Masih said. “The investigating officer keeps telling us that Saba has converted to Islam and contracted marriage with Yasir, but he has not shown us any document as yet. We are pleading with the police to at least recover the girl and arrange our meeting with her so that we can ascertain the facts ourselves, but he doesn’t listen to us.”
Christian leaders have attested that abducted, forced conversion and marriage are major problems for minority religious groups in Pakistan. Anglican Church of Pakistan Moderator Azad Marshall said in a May 25 statement: “Kidnapping of our youth must end; today we see a new level of hate when a young girl with hearing and speech impairment was conned and kidnapped in broad daylight. The police must act, the judiciary must send a message. We are being forced to watch as humans are violated.”
“Social indifference to predators who use religion to pursue and target minorities and the vulnerable, continuing to saw away at all of our futures. The violation of Saba Masih in Faisalabad is another reminder of just how grim the situation is.”