Pakistani Court validates abduction and marriage of underaged Christian girl
A Pakistani court cited Sharia law to validate the marriage of a thirteen-year-old Christian girl to a forty-four-year-old Muslim man who recently abducted her. Arzoo Raja’s parents bowed to touch the feet of Pakistani police officers, begging to see their daughter who was kidnapped by Ali Azhar from their home on the 13th of October. Their request was refused.
Instead, the high court of Pakistan’s Sindh Province changed their daughter’s name to the more Islamic “Arzoo Fatima” and announced that she “understood and realised that Islam is a universal religion,” International Christian Concern reported.
Raja wasn’t able to tell her parents or anyone else what she “understood” about Islam because her abductor, whom the court referred to as her “husband,” has had her locked in a single room after getting her pregnant. Azhar also has other children near Raja’s age. This information was provided to the Christian Post, courtesy of Will Stark, International Christian Concern’s South Asia Regional Manager.
The last time Raja’s family heard from her was a July phone call, Stark said, three months after Azhar first kidnapped her. When she appeared in the courtroom yesterday, police refused to let her run to her parents, Morning Star News reported.
“Raja’s case isn’t a one-off decision. It’s part of a pattern,” Stark said. “Conversion to Islam is being used by the courts to circumvent secular law.”
In Pakistan, child marriage combined with a “conversion” to Islam commonly covers up rape, he said. Another girl in a similar situation, Maira Shahbaz was abducted and gang-raped. Her captor told her that if she didn’t back him with her court testimony, he would release video of the rape online, Stark said. It’s likely something similar happened to Raja.