Sixteen-year-old Ameena Ahmed*, now living in the town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, does not always respond when her mother-in-law calls out to her.
“Even after a year of `marriage’ I am not used to my new name. I was called Radha before,” she told IRIN on a rare occasion when she was allowed to go to the corner shop on her own to buy vegetables.
Ameena, or Radha as she still calls herself, was abducted from Karachi about 13 months ago by a group of young men who offered her ice-cream and a ride in their car. Before she knew what was happening, she was dragged into a larger van, and driven to an area she did not know.
She was then pressured into signing forms which she later found meant she was married to Ahmed Salim, 25; she was converted to a Muslim after being asked to recite some verses in front of a cleric. She was obliged to wear a veil. Seven months ago, Ameena, who has not seen her parents or three siblings since then and “misses them a lot”, moved with her new family to southern Punjab.
“The abduction and kidnapping of Hindu girls is becoming more and more common,” Amarnath Motumal, a lawyer and leader of Karachi’s Hindu community, told IRIN. “This trend has been growing over the past four or five years, and it is getting worse day by day.
Pakistan is one of several nations across Asia suffering from a shortage of females as sex-selective abortion has played growing role in the deficit. Portable ultrasound machines have made gender selection much easier. A 2005 study quoted by Wiki estimated that more than 90 million females were “missing” from the expected populations in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone.
He said there were at least 15-20 forced abductions and conversions of young girls from Karachi each month, mainly from the multi-ethnic Lyari area. The fact that more and more people were moving to Karachi from the interior of Sindh Province added to the dangers, as there were now more Hindus in Karachi, he said.
“They come to search for better schooling, for work and to escape growing extremism,” said Motumal who believes Muslim religious schools are involved in the conversion business.
“Hindus are non-believers. They believe in many gods, not one, and are heretics. So they should be converted,” said Abdul Mannan, 20, a Muslim student. He said he would be willing to marry a Hindu girl, if asked to by his teachers, “because conversions brought big rewards from Allah [God]. But later I will marry a `real’ Muslim girl as my second wife,” he said.
According to local law, a Muslim man can take more than one wife, but rights activists argue that the law infringes the rights of women and needs to be altered.
Motumal says Hindu organizations are concerned only with the “forced conversion” of girls under 18. “Adult women are of course free to choose,” he said.
Sunil Sushmt, 40, who lives in a village close to the city of Mirpurkhas in central Sindh Province, said his 14-year-old daughter was “lured away” by an older neighbour and, her parents believe, forcibly converted after marriage to a Muslim. “She was a child. What choice did she have?” her father asked. He said her mother still cries for her “almost daily” a year after the event.
Sushmat is also concerned about how his daughter is being treated. “We know many converts are treated like slaves, not wives,” he said.
According to official figures, Hindus based mainly in Sindh make up 2 percent of Pakistan’s total population of 165 million. “We believe this figure could be higher,” Motumal said.
According to media reports, a growing number of Hindus have been fleeing Pakistan, mainly for neighbouring India. The kidnapping of girls and other forms of persecution is a factor in this, according to those who have decided not to stay in the country any longer.
“My family has lived in Sindh for generations,” Parvati Devi, 70, said. “But now I worry for the future of my granddaughters and their children. Maybe we too should leave,” she said. “The entire family is seriously considering this.”
My Article on Forced Conversions, published at Family Security Matters on June 7, 2011.
I have been producing a weekly synopsis and articles on the global encroachment of Islam for about two years. In that time, a week hasn’t passed without certain ‘staples’ of Islam perpetrated on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. One of the traits that are unquestionably unique to Islam is ‘forced conversion’.
With very little research, it is easy to discover that forced conversion in hand with over-breeding, is part of a larger Islamic strategy to achieve the state of Dar al-Islam, or the ‘house of Islam’. Simply defined, it is the chipping away at a country until it is an Islamic state and continuing this, on a global scale, until all religion is for Allah. The weekly synopsis certainly gives a clear picture of this objective.
This past week, The Pakistan Christian Post reported on yet another case of young girls being kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. The father of the girls, Rehmat Masih, was told by a rich, local businessman that he intended to marry both daughters and had threatened to kidnap them if this wasn’t approved of. A complaint to the local Police Station proved pointless as the Police refused to take action.
A few days later, the girls were kidnapped by the man while on the way home from a market. Rehmat rushed back to the Police Station to complain. After an investigation, Rehmat was accused of making false accusations against the Muslim business man. It was further stated that Rehmat was a drunk and that he often beat his daughters and they had likely ran away from home to escape this treatment.
Forced conversion isn’t unique to Pakistan and in fact regularly occurs in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Egypt and even England. It begs the question, what could possibly embolden the adherents of Islam to engage in such a heinous act? The answer is simple, the teachings of Mohammad.
Islam was spread by the sword after a slight initial, peaceful hiccup. The warlord and slave –trader Mohammed’s war conquests are very concisely documented.
Sûrah al-Baqarah 256: Allah says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things”.
Sadly, this verse and other verses of peace were replaced by more violent ones, like Sura 8:12, 9:5, 47:4 and many others.
Prior to emigrating from Mecca to Medina (the Hijra) in 622 CE, Mohammad preached sermons of peace and tolerance, taking and perverting verses from the Bible, the Torah and sacred Greek texts. This had proven to be an abject failure to Mohammad, as barely 100 to 150 people had converted to Islam in its first 13 years. Most of these converts were either close or long-time friends or members of his family.
From 624 CE, raids on defenseless communities reaped great rewards for the early Muslims in slaves, wealth and converts to Islam. A large portion of these people converted for self-preservation as the warring Muslims murdered, tortured, enslaved and raped their way across Arabia. This had proven a more lucrative tact to the one of peace and tolerance.
This is accentuated in Ibn Ishaq 814:
“Submit and testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the apostle of Allah before you lose your head”.
As well as Sahih Muslim 31:5917:
“Fight with them until they bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger.”
The people of Mecca who refused to convert to Islam were forcibly removed following Mohammed’s last sermon in 632 CE. The same offer was made to the Christians and Jews in Arabia, though their choice was extended to either accept Islam as their faith, leave their land or be killed.
From Mohammed’s last sermon, Koran 9:5,
“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
Sahih Muslim 19, 4366,
Narrated Umar b. al-Khattib:
“I have heard the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) say:’ I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim’.”
In June 2008, Saba and Anila Younas, both Christian girls from Pakistan, were abducted by a group of Muslims, and forced to marry and convert to Islam. When the matter came before the court, Naeem Sardar, the District and Sessions Judge, ordered that the girls were not to be remanded to their Christian parents because the girls are Muslim now.
In June 2009, a Hindu woman Koli Goswami, 21, from Bangladesh was asleep in her bed when five Muslim men broke into the family home. They vandalized her home and attacked other family members that attempted to intervene before they abducted her. After some investigation by authorities, Koli’s mother was told that she had converted to Islam after a ‘long, mutual love affair’ with one of the abductors. Her parents eventually gave up pressuring authorities for answers, Koli’s mother stated, “we are afraid we may further be attacked and our other daughters might be abducted.”
In January 2010, Joselyn Cabrera, a Filipino Catholic nurse working at Riyadh Hospital in Saudi Arabia said, “After some months, employers give you an ultimatum, telling you to become Muslim to keep your job. For us, it is hard to make such a choice, but if we don’t, we become the victims of abuse.”
In her 10 years in The Kingdom, she said she saw at least 50 forced conversions at work. She tells of another woman that refused to convert that was raped, became pregnant and jailed under Saudi Law. She then later miscarried because of harsh conditions in the prison.
In March 2010, Chakra News reported that “Susceptible teenage girls who are forced to convert to Islam by Muslim men are being protected by London police.” ‘Aggressive conversions’ at university campuses are being discovered and Police are looking into finding the groups of men responsible. The Hindu forum of Britain has claimed that Hindu and Sikh girls are the primary targets of these terrorizing men who lure girls and take them out on dates before revealing to them that they must convert.
On April 19, 2011, USNewswire released the following statement: “Eighteen Members of Congress, from both parties, expressed “concern over continuing reports of abductions, forced marriages and exploitation of Coptic women and girls in Egypt”.
Writing on the 16th of April to Ambassador Luis C deBaca, Director of the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office, the Members noted that they had received disturbing reports documenting ‘a criminal phenomenon that includes fraud, physical and sexual violence, captivity, forced marriage and exploitation in forced domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation and financial benefit to the individuals who secure the forced conversion of the victim.’
According to a statement of the Canadian Egyptian Organization for Human Rights on the situation of the Coptic minority in Egypt, Islamist groups practice forced conversions of members of the Coptic community to Islam: “Forced conversion of members of the Coptic community to Islam, largely publicized as a psychologically demeaning tactic against the minority, is practiced by Islamism groups under police manipulation and with their cooperation. Some of these cases start with rape of underage girls.
From Mohammed’s day to present day the heinous action of forced conversion continues, unabated and with little acknowledgment by anyone other than advocacy groups.