A Christian charity group based in the UK is seeking the help of British Prime Minister Boris Jonson to grant asylum to a teenage Christian girl who fled from a Muslim man. The 14-year-old girl fled from her abductor who allegedly forced her to convert to Islam and to marry him.
The Aid to the Church in Need, a UK-based Catholic charity supporting persecuted Christians around the world, is now filing an online petition to the prime minister on behalf of Maira Shahbaz of Pakistan. The charity is asking Christians to add their names to the letter requesting a shelter for Maira, whose life remains in danger.
Maira is a 14-year-old Christian girl who was abducted at gunpoint while walking at Madina Town area in Punjab Province's Faisalabad District. The abductors took her to a basement where she was drugged and raped, the Christian Headlines reported.
A part of her police statement said that she shouted and requested the captors to release her and let her go home when she got back to her senses. However, the mother of one of the abductors came in, refused to let her go, and told her she has to do whatever they order her to do.
Mohamad Nakash, a married Muslim man, and his mother later forced Maira to convert to Islam and marry him. Months later, Maira managed to escape but the Lahore High Court ordered her to return to Nakash ruling out that their marriage was valid.
Nakash was earlier accused of presenting to the lower court a false marriage certificate that said Maira was 19 years old and that they got married in October 2019. The Muslim cleric listed on the certificate also denied involvement with the wedding ceremony. Nakash also failed to provide proof of marriage consent from his first wife with whom he has two kids.
Maira earlier supported Nakash's stance on the court which she later withdraw after fleeing from the alleged husband. She told the police that the suspect threatened to upload her naked photos and videos online and to murder her whole family if she will not support his statement.
The initial court ruling that permitted Nakash to marry Maira was overturned after her mother presented her birth certificate to the lower court. The certificate proved that Maira was underaged.
Faisalabad District and Sessions Judge Rana Masood allowed Maira to leave Nakash's house to stay in a women's refuge known as Dar ul Aman, without contact from any of her family members until the hearing that could send Nakash and two accomplices to jail is finished.
Lala Daniel, Maira's family lawyer, said that if she stayed longer in Nakash's house, she would have been forced to become a sex worker.
Now, Maira no longer stays with her captors. She is under the care of the women's refuge until a final verdict on Nakash and his accomplices are made. Regardless of the results, however, Maira's life is "forever in danger," Aid to the Church in Need said, as per the Christian Post.
"There is the threat of honor killing," the charity said. "Extremists in Pakistan consider her an apostate and will kill her at the first chance. Her lawyer said men have been looking for her, knocking on doors and asking for her whereabouts."
The charity is asking Christians to sign an online petition asking British PM Johnson to grant Maira asylum for her own safety.