Faiza was taken to a seminary in the Sheikhupura city, some 50 km from Lahore, by her school principal Saleema Bibi, who forced her to embrace Islam.
In the third incident of conversion of girls from minority communities in over a week, a 15-year-old Christian girl was allegedly forced to convert to Islam by her school principal in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
According to a complaint filed by the girl’s father Mukhtar Masih at a police station, Faiza was taken to a seminary in the Sheikhupura city, some 50 km from Lahore, by her school principal Saleema Bibi, who forced her to embrace Islam. Mukhtar said the girl had gone to school on Wednesday but did not return home.
Faiza’s father, Mukhtar Masih, filed a report with the police when his daughter did not return home from school on Wednesday. The police contacted the school, who informed them that the girl had gone to a seminary.
Mukhtar went to three different seminaries, but when he found her at one of them, the staff did not allow him to take her. Police then raided the seminary, recovered the girl and moved her to a Darul Aman (shelter home) in Sheikhupura. But Faiza has still not been returned to her family.
According to the Mukhtar, the school has attempted to convert the teenager other times. The school told Faiza that if she read Arabic in school, she would “automatically become a Muslim.”
“The principal has also offered us to convert to Islam and in return, she would compensate us by paying for our needs, but we refused,” Mukhtar said. The family is working with authorities to bring their daughter home.
But, according to journalist Naila Inayat, “The teacher who taught Arabic to the girl in the government school told her you can’t go back home now as you’re a Muslim.”
Yet another case of forced conversion in Pakistan: 15-year-old Christian girl Faiza Mukhtar converted to Islam in Sheikhupura, Punjab. Parents say the girl was taken to a madrassa by her school principal and was forced to convert. Now the poor family is also being to convert. pic.twitter.com/OPNr0dScam— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) September 7, 2019
Unfortunately, Faiza’s story is not uncommon. She is one of three reported abductions in Pakistan this month. In early September and late August, both a Hindu and Sikh girl were abducted and forced to convert. The Sikh girl also married her Muslim captor.
According to the United Kingdom-based Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, authorities in Pakistan often side with perpetrators of abductions while courts do not give clear judgments because of pressure from radical religious leaders.
CLAAS voiced an alarm this summer about the abduction of 14-year-old Christian Benish Imran, who was also forced into an Islamic marriage.
Open Doors USA, a Christian persecution watchdog group, ranks Pakistan as the fifth-worst country in the world for its persecution of Christians.