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Pakistan: Christian woman killed for refusing forced marriage and conversion to Islam

by Tola Mbakwe
Photo Credit: Aid to the Church in Need/Sajid Christopher - Banner image
Photo Credit: Aid to the Church in Need/Sajid Christopher

A Christian woman in Pakistan was shot multiple times in the head after refusing to marry a Muslim man and convert to Islam.

According to Christian persecution watchdog Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), police are searching for Muhammad Shehzad, a Muslim man, who allegedly killed 24-year-old Sonia Bibi at a bus stop in Rawalpindi, close to Islamabad.

The suspect’s so-called co-conspirator, known as Faizan, has been taken into custody following the incident on 30th November.

Faizan is reported to have picked up Sonia on a motorbike and taken her to meet Shehzad who then attacked on the woman.

Sources close to ACN say that, just days before her death, Bibi and her family refused Shehzad’s marriage proposal.

The tragic incident comes amid growing concerns about the safety of Christian and Hindu girls in Pakistan, such as Maira Shahbaz, who has received death threats after escaping from a Muslim man who forced her to marry him and convert to Islam.

Neville Kyrke-Smith, national director of ACN UK, which is calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to give asylum to Maira Shahbaz, expressed shock at the killing.

He said: “Sonia’s killing demonstrates the mortal danger girls and young women – especially those from Christian and other minority backgrounds – face in situations where they are under pressure to marry and abandon their faith.

“It is urgent that action is taken to ensure the safety of these young people.

“We call upon those in authority in Pakistan and our own Government to act now. Otherwise there will only be more tragic cases such as this.”    

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