PAKISTAN: Clerics Oppose Law Aimed at Criminalising Forced Conversions

Sep 22, 2021 | VoM

Muslim clerics in Pakistan are opposing a proposed law aimed at stopping the forced conversion of minorities.

The Prohibition of Forced Religious Conversion Bill has been put forward by Naveed Amir Jeeva, a Christian legislator. Currently, the bill is pending before the Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN)

For years, human rights defenders and leaders of Pakistan’s minority communities have been asking the government to pass a law that would criminalise abduction, forced conversion, and forced marriage.

In February, a parliamentary committee recommended that only a “mature person” be allowed to change their religion after appearing before an additional sessions judge. An official procedure was also recommended by the committee that provided a timeline for the conversion to be given final approval. Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, a cleric appointed as a special representative on religious harmony by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, rejected the bill and called it the “anti-Quran bill”.

According to a 2014 study done by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan,

an estimated 1,000 Christian and Hindu women, many minors, are abducted, forcefully converted to Islam, and forcefully married to their abductor every year.

Let us pray.

Pray the authorities in Pakistan will act justly with reason, compassion and mercy.

Pray there may be many advocates for the bill within the nation. Pray the opposition to the bill will be overcome.

Remember in prayer the many young women and girls who have been victims of forced marriage and forced conversion.