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Pakistani Catholic escapes forced conversion to Islam

Kinza was raped and forcefully converted to Islam after five men abducted her from her house in the area of Lahore on Sept. 19, 2022

For years, Aid to the Church in Need has been highlighting the suffering of women, teenagers and young adults subjected to abduction and forced conversion in countries around the world. Many cases go unknown, but shocking testimonies like the story of Kinza Sindhu, 14, show the urgency of this topic.

Kinza was raped and forcefully converted to Islam after five men abducted her from her house in the area of Lahore on Sept. 19, 2022. The group was headed by a Muslim teenager, who used to visit the Catholic family’s landlord downstairs. Her parents sought legal aid, and on October 22, the Lahore Session Court allowed Kinza to rejoin her family.

In an interview conducted in her native Urdu language, Kinza spoke to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about her ordeal.

How did they abduct you from your house?

My parents, who are both cooks, were away at work. My older sister was in the kitchen when I heard a knock on the front door at around 12.00 p.m. When I opened the door, armed men pulled me out and pushed me inside a van. I recognized two of them, but the rest were unknown. One of them made me take a sedative and I slipped into unconsciousness. Later one of the young guys I knew raped me at gunpoint, at an unknown location.

How did your faith help you in captivity?

I kept praying in my heart, sometimes I would recite the Rosary. The next day the guy who raped me brought a bearded man to register the nikah [Muslim marriage]. I told them I am a Christian and refused to repeat the Arabic verses. They told me to just listen quietly. They made me sign a paper and took my fingerprints. They also made videos of the ceremony on a phone.

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How did you manage to escape?

My parents had registered a first information report at the local police station regarding my abduction. My kidnapper submitted the nikahnama (Islamic marriage contract) in the same police station stating that I had become a Muslim. But in Lahore High Court I denied converting to Islam. The judge let me rejoin my family after the second hearing.

Has your suffering brought you closer to God?

I can’t shake off what happened to me. My story is like the parable of the Prodigal Son. Now I am back home. I feel I am closer to God. I had lost all hope. It was God who sent help in the shape of lawyers who fought the case and brought me back. I am worried for my family who are still receiving threatening calls from unknown numbers. The callers are urging them to return me to them or face a beating after being stripped naked. They are planning to move to another neighborhood. I worry about them.

What are your hopes for the future?

I dropped out of school during grade 5 in 2019. Now I want to continue my studies and try to live a normal life. I want to do something big with my life and become a police officer. I want to help others.

Published with the permission of the Aid to the Church in Need in the United States.

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