Forced conversions

Published: March 1, 2012

In Karachi alone, 15 to 20 Hindu girls are being abducted each month, mainly from the Lyari area and wedded to Muslim men.

There are many issues that fade in and out of discussion in our society. Some of these, occasionally shock people as figures are revealed, or stories told by victims surface to the fore. Otherwise, it is frightening how many people are oblivious to such basic problems relating to fundamental human rights. Take the matter of the forced conversion of Hindu girls. The crisis has rarely been discussed on the dozens of television talk shows, or at other forums which help shed some light on the priorities these issues should take. This in turn, of course, acts to worsen the suffering of marginalised communities, whose voices are rarely heard in a nation where silence prevails too often. The majority rarely speaks out for the minority, and this, of course, adds to their overwhelming sense of abandonment and isolation.

According to recent reports, Hindus — who make up around two per cent of the total population of the country — are being kidnapping and forced into marriage to Muslim men. Often times, they are even forced to convert to Islam. This trend has been increasing over the past decade and things appear only to be getting worse. In Karachi alone, 15 to 20 Hindu girls are being abducted each month, mainly from the Lyari area and wedded to Muslim men. Most are minors; some no more than 13 or 14 years old. The leaders of the Hindu community point out that they accept the right of adult women, aged over 18, to make their own choices as far as marriage is concerned, but they object to the kidnapping of younger girls. Reports indicate that seminary students are frequently involved in these practices, with the limited research carried out suggesting that these girls are then treated much like slaves.

We need to take much greater notice of the abuse inflicted on the minorities within our borders. Their condition is worsening rapidly; tens of thousands have already fled abroad and we should feel ashamed that we have failed so miserably to end the persecution they suffer.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • arjun
    Mar 2, 2012 - 3:30AM

    shame! shame! thats why the story of Pakistan is almost over….

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  • Cynical
    Mar 2, 2012 - 5:26AM

    ET should be commended for a bold editorial like this one.
    But sadly in a society as bigoted as ours, it only covers a space as little as, well, as a newspaper editorial.
    Never the less thanks ET, you have played your part with distinction.

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  • Cautious
    Mar 2, 2012 - 5:28AM

    Forced conversion is bad – but kidnapping and forced marriage will land you in jail for 25+ years in the civilized World – perhaps it’s time for Pakistan to join the 21st century?

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  • Mohammed awais
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:29AM

    Forced conversions have existed from the time Islam came to the subcontinent. The ancestors of most of us were force converted. Whether we like it or not, that is the cold hard truth. If ends can justify the means and people can see the true Islamic path, then isnt this ok? That after all us been the argument for such conversions for a thousand years. And without it we wouldnt exist, not as Muslims anyway.

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  • A reader
    Mar 2, 2012 - 8:13AM

    India should grant citizenship to Hindus and Sikhs of Pakistan, I think they would like to leave immediately. The old story of being offered the sword or the cap is being played out again as our ancestors had to face. It is the right thing to do to bring these people to India.

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  • raw is war
    Mar 2, 2012 - 8:36AM

    shocking, even to hear such a thing. How can any religion be called decent, if such acts are considered? And why do pakistanis speak of Kashmir, when there are millions of kashmirirs happening all around?

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  • Mar 2, 2012 - 11:22AM

    Today I am remembering the Historical words of Great Great Maulana Abul Kalam Azad,

    “The scheme of Partition will never end the problems but will Increase.On the both sides Minorities will be unsafe.In such case Pakistan may not able to safegaurd the Muslims in India,and India may not able to Safegaurd Hindus in Pakistan even if they both will want to help them.Then tell me is this Partition will secure the aims of Pakistan and India or anyone third in this game.”

    Read and Read it Again and Ask the heros of Partition that what sort of independence ,they have given to the Hindus of Pakistan and the Muslims of Today India ?

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  • Pakiaway
    Mar 2, 2012 - 9:48PM

    @Muhammed Awais – NO forced conversions are not ok! the end does not justify the means in this case! Islam is not about forcing ppl to convert, ur meant to spread Islam peacefully and ppl are meant to see the meaning beauty of the religion and want to convert on their own. Disgusting that educated ppl like you would even suggest that forced conversion of children (13 – 14 yr old girls) kidnapped by radicals is ok!

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  • Manoj Kumar
    Mar 8, 2012 - 2:44AM

    Dear friends, we for going for token hunger strike on 08.03.2012 at press club karachi. from 1.30 to 4 pm….if anyone wants to join,,we will be pleased to see your support.

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