Underage Christian girls can be married off to Muslim men, Pakistani court rules

Monday, February 10, 2020

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A High Court in Pakistan has judged that Muslim men may marry underage Christian girls as long as they have had their first menstrual cycle, contravening an earlier law that forbade marriage for any girl under the age of 18 in the face of widespread abductions.

The decision came during the latest hearing for 14-year-old Christian girl Huma Younus, who was abducted from her home in Karachi last October by three Muslim men and driven 370 miles away to Punjab province, where she was forced into marriage and Islam.

"Once again, justice has been defeated and, once again, our state has shown itself unable to treat Christians as Pakistani citizens," Nagheena Younus, the girl's mother, said, revealing that her daughter's captors sent forged marriage and conversion documents to their house in the days after the kidnapping.

Tabassum Yousaf, the lawyer representing the Younus family, remarked flatly that the decision indicated the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act passed by the Pakistani courts in the face of the outcry against the practice of Muslim men forcing conversion and marriage on Christian girls was merely for show.

"Evidently in Pakistan, these laws are formulated and approved only to improve the image of the country in front of the international community, ask for development funds, and freely trade Pakistani products on the European market," he challenged.

International Christian Concern (ICC) President Jeff King said based on the way the court was leaning Huma likely "will not be returned to her parents and is probably lost to them forever," detailing the horrific circus of forced conversion and marriage into which she and other girls are being dragged.

"Usually, and often tragically, the next step is that she will be kidnapped, drugged, beaten, and raped multiple times, and often the family knows who is responsible," King explained. "In a fundamentalist, shame-based culture, the girl's prospects for marriage, and a decent life, are permanently ruined."

King said that a girl's captors will then present her with an offer of marriage to a Muslim man as the only means left to her to "save her dignity," and the girl will often be presented to her parents and tell them in a drugged state that she doesn't want to come home without ever making eye contact.

Christians in Pakistan, the number five fiercest persecutor of believers in the world according to Open Doors USA, tend to be treated as second-class citizens and relegated to menial jobs, and constantly face the danger of trumped-up blasphemy accusations for which the sentence is death.