Forced conversion to Islam is a growing problem in Pakistan, manifesting through various means like threats, intimidation, and violence. In Pakistan, forced conversions entail compelling individuals, often from minority religious communities, to change their religion to Islam. Typically, these cases involve vulnerable people, particularly women and girls, who are kidnapped, forcibly married to Muslim men, and coerced into converting against their will.
Recently, a concerning situation emerged where nearly all Christian workers at a brick kiln were compelled to convert. We have shared several such stories in recent days, and here is another one.
A Christian family of six had been working at a brick kiln in South Punjab, Pakistan. To meet their needs, they had taken a loan of three hundred thousand Pakistani rupees. The kiln owner increased their debt, forcing the family to reside at the kiln. He prevented them from participating in family gatherings and attending church services.
In an attempt to coerce them into converting to Islam, he also required them to provide Islamic education to their children. Moreover, he tried to entice them by offering to waive half of their loans. However, the family rejected his offer.
Like many other families, Saleem Masih’s family faced immense pressure as they approached a deadline to repay their debt. Failure to meet this deadline meant their daughter would be married to a Muslim without their consent or desire.
This is the story of the Saleem family.
In the same way as others, thanks to God, we have freed this family and provided them with everything they need to survive and restart their lives.
Forced Conversion Although it is a long-standing issue in Pakistan, it mainly affects the Hindu, Christian, and Sikh communities. Human rights organizations and activists have expressed concern about the lack of legal protections and the justice system’s failure to adequately resolve these cases.