Maryam, accompanied by Romail, her 11-year-old brother, was walking home from a college in Lahore on a sunny afternoon, when suddenly she was brutally accosted.
Two masked men jumped out of a white car and grabbed the kicking and screaming Maryam, forcing her into the back of the car. The abductors shouted abuse and threats at Romail as he rushed home to tell his mother.
Frantic, Maryam’s mother filed a police report of Maryam’s kidnapping. Two days later the police informed her that her daughter had not been kidnapped, but rather had married a Muslim man, Muhammad Ali, who had produced a marriage certificate. Her faith was listed as Muslim, even though Maryam is a dedicated Christian woman who worships each week with her family.
During April and May this year, there have been 18 similar incidents reported in the Punjab province of Pakistan. In all cases, the girls were Christians, forced to convert to Islam and given as slaves to influential Muslim men.
Four of the 18 women were already married to Christian husbands and had children. According to a ruling of the Lahore High Court, “Christian marriages do not dissolve on conversion to Islam or any religion.”
The Constitution of Pakistan protects the Christian Marriage Act, but in spite of the ruling of the court, powerful Muslim clerics claim otherwise: “After conversion to Islam, the previous marriage stands null and void…,” a convenient loophole protecting accused kidnappers.
- Pray for Maryam. and the many Christians women across the Muslim world who are kidnapped and forced into marriage with Muslim men. Pray for their faith to remain strong and be a comfort to them, even in the midst of their desperate circumstances.
- Pray for justice for these women in Pakistan, for the authorities to recognise what is happening and to act accordingly against the men who are behind the kidnappings.
- Pray for Christians marriage to be protected in Pakistan, and for the loopholes that currently protect the kidnappers to be closed.
- Pray for protection for Christians in Pakistan at a time when there is a rise of persecution and Islamic fundamentalism.
- Pray that, over this time of Ramadan, many Muslims in Pakistan will have life changing encounters with Christ Jesus and come to faith in Him.
Isaiah 1 vs 17: “ learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.“