Religious conversion: Christian couples on the run in Punjab

Published: April 25, 2012

Kindness of neighbours turned into disapproval after revelation of women’s conversion.

LAHORE: A domestic altercation one afternoon and a subsequent revelation about faith conversion changed the lives of Christian couple Amin Masih and Shehnaz. While the couple decided to stick with each other, they were shunned by their hometown and the kindness once shown by their Muslim neighbours soon turned into disapproval and threats.

Amin Masih married Shehnaz, while his younger brother Qaisar Masih married Shehnaz’s sister Gulnaz after the sisters converted to Christianity from Islam. The wives’ conversion was kept secret throughout the two-and-a-half years they lived in seemingly tolerant Narang Mandi of Sheikhupura district, where they were treated with respect by the Muslim locals.

The couples are now on the run after the locals demanded custody of Shehnaz and Gulnaz.

“We were living happy lives with our children but since it was disclosed that our wives were from a Muslim family, local Muslims, who were very kind to us before this incident, are hell-bent upon taking custody of them,” said Amin.

On March 31, Amin said his wife ran into the streets after an argument with him and started shouting: “I was a Muslim, Christians are torturing me, please help me.”

Although the neighbours looked on as silent spectators, the whispers soon started.

The next day, local leader Sardar Hashim Ali Mann, who contested in the previous election on the ticket of the Pakistan Peoples Party, summoned Amin and his family at his Dera.

Amin recalled that Mann questioned his marriage, to which he replied that his wife embraced Christianity, after which they married of their own free will.

This, however, offended Mann and he warned Amin to leave his wife and also ask his brother to do the same as the women were Muslims and it was inappropriate for them to live together.

Amin said that they immediately left their house taking with them only the bare essentials. He added that he also had to leave his job as a sweeper in a Lesco office in Narang Mandi.

Shehnaz told The Express Tribune that while she realises that it was a mistake to have a public outburst, she would never think of living without Amin. She did not realise the gravity of the situation just then. Now, all she dreams is going back to the way things were.

Shehnaz further said that she had been married before to a drug addict, who used to physically abuse her. Her parents did not support her and she was forced to stand up on her own two feet and leave her first husband.

Qaisar told The Express Tribune that they have taken shelter at one of their relative’s homes in Thokar Niaz Beg – but they have refused to keep them any longer since locals there also lodged a protest against them.

When contacted, Mann told The Express Tribune that he summoned the couple when he learnt that Shehnaz was not divorced from her previous husband and married a Christian man. He said knowing their “un-Islamic act” he forced them to leave his area. He added that he told Amin he would not let them live in his area if they continued with their immoral acts.

Mann added that he had given both couples a chance to leave each other, but both husbands and wives refused, after which they were thrown out.

Human Liberation Commission head Aslam Parvaiz Sahotra condemned the couples’ eviction and said that according to the Constitution of Pakistan everyone has the right to live wherever they want.

He appealed to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa to take notice of the matter and provide security to both couples.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.

Reader Comments (40)

  • Azhar Sheikh
    Apr 25, 2012 - 8:51AM

    Why aren’t the women being allowed to convert to christianity?
    There were a lot of celebrations when Rinkle Kumari converted to Islam, then why no celebrations when these women converted to christianity?
    Why the double standards from our society?

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  • Jibran Anis
    Apr 25, 2012 - 9:19AM

    If Rinkle Kumari’s conversion was a good thing , then why isn’t Shenaz’s conversion a good thing?

    Why no public rallies celebrating shenaz’s conversion just as there were public celebrations in rinkle’s case.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:18AM

    And yet, Pakistanis think that a CIA/RAW/Mossad conspiracy is needed to ruin them, while they do it all by themselves. A rotting tree doesn’t need termites to destroy it.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:29AM

    There are scores of such cases who fled to foreign lands due to these conversions. Once a Muslim then violation or conversion will lead you towards the Valley Of Death. There is no free will and this is Islam known to Muslim Brothers and Sisters. You have to stay where you are no matter one likes it or not. Our system can do nothing and the cases of Hindu Girls are premier example.

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  • rashid khan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:33AM

    @Azhar Sheikh
    You’re either naive or have simply lost the plot,
    The question you’ve raised is the trillion dollar question.

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  • Raj - USA
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:35AM

    ” and the kindness once shown by their Muslim neighbours soon turned into disapproval and threats”.
    Unlike Rinkle who was still a minor and got married within four hours of conversion to someone whom she never knew earlier, the woman in this case is a grown up woman and the couple have been living together for two and half years after conversion.

    Yet, many Muslims in Pakistan always complain that they are discriminated in other countries by followers of other religion. Rinkle’s forceful conversion has caused so much misery and destruction in her family and I wonder if Allah would really be pleased with that. There is no justice or judicial system in Pakistan.

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  • curious
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:40AM

    these so called Islam protector extremists have decided to spread hatred in all the aspects, then whether its Rinkal’s case or it is Shehnaz’s case.
    My brothers just pray “Oh God please protect Islam and protect humanity”

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  • Zillur Rahman
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:44AM

    There is a big difference between Rinkle Kumari on one hand and Shenaz and Gulnaz on the other. Rinkle Kumari is a convert. She deserves support and applause. Shenaz and Gulnaz are turncoats. Apostasy is a capital crime. They deserve death.

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  • Furqan Bashir
    Apr 25, 2012 - 11:33AM

    @Jibran Anis:
    Well, you can celebrate that if you are a Kafir, but Muslims do not celebrate if someone commits disbelief in Allah or any of His messengers. There are plenty of differences between coveting from Islam to Christianity and reverting from Christianity to Islam. But let me mention one for you: In Christianity, you believe in prophets up to Jesus and revelations up to the Gospel, but do not believe in Muhammad the last prophet and Quran the last revelation of God. In Islam, you still believe in all those prophets and revelations, but also believe in the final prophet and final revelation of God. Hence moving back from Islam would mean rejecting some of God’s messengers and revelations. Thats what makes Islam more special, unique and unequaled. And that is the bounty of God on us, everyone is welcome to share that with us, no prejudice, my friends!Recommend

  • Abu Dawood
    Apr 25, 2012 - 11:39AM

    Azhar Sheikh

    why no celebrations when these women
    converted to christianity

    Did Hindus celebrate when Rinkle Kumari accepted Islam? They tried their best to prove it to be a kidnapping case and get the girls back.

    And about the double standards, when the Hindu girls reverted to Islam, all of the so-called liberals were standing with their Hindu families. I would love to see when they stand with the muslim families of these girls who converted to Christianity. If they don’t, then that’s the double standard.

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  • Awais Ch
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:17PM

    @Azhar Sheikh:

    Islam do not allow Muslim women to marry men having religion other than Islam. Recommend

  • xyz
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:21PM

    Islam allows conversion from Hindus to Islam and Christianity to Islam but not vice versa.. Why?

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  • ammar javed
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:22PM

    don’t compare this case with rinkle’s case. Apostasy is a crime. A real crime.

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  • ammar javed
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:37PM

    What a people these human rights activists are. They take the support of constitution in their favor and bash the same constitution when comes to ahmadis. The real hypocrites.

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  • Straight Fire
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:45PM

    This is a forged story made up in order to produce balance out effect against Meena Kumari and Dr. Lata episode .Recommend

  • Ashar
    Apr 25, 2012 - 1:30PM

    Well done ET. But what took you so long to bring about this story. You could have got these sort of stories easily imported from West. It is only a matter of searching the families of immigrants whose third generation is living there. However it is the same place where non-muslims are converting to Islam on thier will. And in fact the long time Muslims completely merged into western culture may have relinquish their faith but they have not adopted the other. and there lies the explanation. Any other faith whether it is Hinduism or Christinanity there is no basis of religious beliefs left with them at all. Because they are not excercising their faith in its original shape. No where in the Bibles there is a hint of incarnation, theory of atonement and redemption and trinity is found. No where in the books of hinduism the Pooja of many man made gods is encouraged. Islam is the only religion with pure and true faith on One God that is Allah SWT. So if somebody comes to Islam he is coming towards salvation otherwise it is Hell fire in the Hereafter. We cannot take it up with social norms only. And if it is so i want to ask all of my liberal friends who seems extremely happy to read this news why dont they convert to Christianty so that every thing becomes lawful for them that they need for themselves being liberals.Surely Nadra will assist in getting change of religion entry in their mainframe. No hard feelings.

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  • Mumbai Dude
    Apr 25, 2012 - 1:35PM

    I smell the stench of hypocricy. Muslims respond please.

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  • Adnan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 1:45PM

    I will not wait and observe the responses of those who were whining on the conversion of Rinkle and said she should be sent to parents. I wanna see how much they stand for their actual statement.

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  • BlackJack
    Apr 25, 2012 - 1:55PM

    @Abu Dawood:
    I know this is pointless, but will still respond. Hindus do not celebrate when anyone converts to any religion – even Hinduism – that is a private matter. There are tons of conversions happening in India all the time, some to Islam, some to Christianity, and nowadays some to Hinduism as well. Rinkle Kumari was a minor girl who was kidnapped from her home – she was missing for a certain amount of time and no amount of police complaints or media attention did any good; she was then produced in court as Faryal, having suddenly married some bloke. After that, when she tried to go back to her parents (ref media reports), instead she was put in confinement for some time – and for some definite reason. She subsequently chose to stay on with her kidnappers, and I cannot complain, because society would not accept her back with open arms even if her parents would. . In this case, you have a grown-up woman who is happily living as a Christian with her husband; there are no police complaints, no kidnappings, and no violence anywhere in the story – except what is now being threatened. Go figure.

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  • ather
    Apr 25, 2012 - 2:12PM

    how pathetic our muslim society is? we are not able to safeguard our sisters from these hienas who wants to convert them into darkness. and we call pakistan a muslim society. the women herself run out in the street and shouted that she is being tortured, but no one helped her. shame on this society.

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  • SaQiB
    Apr 25, 2012 - 2:16PM

    Just when we thought the Rinkle case was enough to embarrass the liberal fascists………….. ET manages to create another story attracting controversy……… BRAVO ET!!!

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  • waqas
    Apr 25, 2012 - 2:56PM

    I dunno what the problem is.Here in the US I know many of my friends who have converted from Islam to Christianity,Buddhism etc and we live happily with no prejudice.Religion is a personal choice.

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  • BD
    Apr 25, 2012 - 3:33PM

    @Ashar:

    I usually just read ET comments for fun–but you compelled me to reply today.Probelms arise when we start to believe in our own propaganda–and then try to provide a venner of logic to cover it.Would urge you–and others–to LOGICALLY argue the points below

    You have said that other religeons do not follow the original teaching.So in your logic–any one following unaltered teaching of new fangles reliegeons like Scientology or even Pastafari is doing the right thing?
    You have said no where in the Hindu books are poojas recommended.Can you please tell me which Hindu texts you are quoting?Hav eyou read any of them yourself or are you going by hereasay?
    “No where in the books of hinduism the Pooja of many man made gods is encouraged. Islam is the only religion with pure and true faith on One God that is Allah SWT”Do you have that one true God you claim of exists?Can you disprove many gods do not exist?please cite data here–not beliefs
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  • Abu Dawood
    Apr 25, 2012 - 3:41PM

    @BlackJack

    And your source for the whole story is?

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  • Umer
    Apr 25, 2012 - 4:37PM

    don’t compare this case with rinkle’s
    case. Apostasy is a crime. A real
    crime.

    Civilised people do not have problem with anyone adopting a faith of their liking and this is allowed all over the world for most apart. Only uncivilised and backwards societies have issues with religious freedom.

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  • Umer
    Apr 25, 2012 - 4:43PM

    @Zillur Rahman:

    Apostasy is a capital crime. They
    deserve death.

    There are many converts to Islam in west and even in India, should they be put to death? Or are you implying westerns and Indian values are superior which allow such conversions among their midst?

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  • BlackJack
    Apr 25, 2012 - 4:58PM

    @Abu Dawood:
    Pakistani media (mainly ET) – am pretty sure that if you go through the archives you will be able to access the same material.

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  • Hassan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 6:35PM

    Apostasy is unacceptable in Islam.Allah and his Prophet peace be upon him have commanded death penalty for this crime.This is Allah’s law.period.

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  • Abu Dawood
    Apr 25, 2012 - 6:37PM

    @BlackJack

    Media just reported the allegations made by the family and later the same media reported that the family was not able to prove those allegations in court of law. How come you so religiously trust Pakistani media but do not trust Pakistani Courts?

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  • Hassan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 6:37PM

    @Umer:
    the death penalty would be awarded in an Islamic state. of course why wud secular states apply shariah?

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  • faraz
    Apr 25, 2012 - 6:56PM

    Actually it’s all about indoctrination by the family you are born in. If you are born in Muslim family; you would consider Islam to be the true religion. If you are born in a Christian family; you would consider Christianity to be the true religion. It’s all about circumstances. There are no logical answers Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:01PM

    What do mullahs have to say about bukhari hadees in which Prophet (PBUH) allowed apostate to live?????

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  • Kaalchakra
    Apr 25, 2012 - 11:33PM

    As a human being I feel sorry for the couple but I cannot support what they did. There is no reason to convert from Islam to any other religion. Unfortunately, it is the law of justice that bad choices have uncomfortable consequences.

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  • Kaalchakra
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:17AM

    Abu Dawood

    Well said, bro.

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  • Ibraheem Mustafa
    Apr 26, 2012 - 2:20AM

    Where are the proponents of Stockholm Syndrome now!!?? She was tortured by her family and was asking for help …

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  • Spud
    Apr 26, 2012 - 3:56AM

    I believe that which religion a person wishes to belong is their personal matter and so long as no force is used the Government, society or the religious leaders should stay out. Whether the person/s concerned are contributing effectively to the society they live in should be the only criteria used to judge and no other.

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  • Waqas
    Apr 26, 2012 - 1:47PM

    @ Spud

    how is that even possible, when Pakistan laws is based on islamic laws, where it is stated that when u leave Islam, u will face death penalty…

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  • Ashar
    Apr 26, 2012 - 2:54PM

    @BD:
    Unfortunately my reply could not pass thru the moderator otherwise i have replied to you. Now you are advised to go thru your own religious books like Bhagwat geeta, Upanishad, and four vedas where you will find many ashloks in favour of my statement. I have few of my Hindu friends who do not worship Idols and believe in One God.
    This is extremely unfortunate of us in our times that we have learnt well to write but take some time to read. Even our own literature.

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  • yajsingh
    Apr 26, 2012 - 9:21PM

    “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me”

    Sounds familiar? or maybe replace Jews, Communist, trade unionists with Hindu’s, Bengali, Ahmadiyya, Balochs & Shia’s.

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  • Sahil
    May 15, 2012 - 11:44AM

    Welcome to Islam, religion of peace!!!

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