Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pakistani Christian Woman Raped, Forced To Marry And Convert To Islam Says She 'Prays For Freedom'

Joseph Hartropp

A Pakistani Christian woman who was forcibly married, converted, abused and raped by her Muslim employer has spoken about her experience, and how she wishes to be freed from her forced marriage.
Mother of three and divorcee Fouzia Sadiq, 31, had taken up employment as a cleaner to support her family. She claims her employer, Muhammed Nazir Amjad, began making unwanted sexual advances to her. When she reported his behaviour to his daughters she says she was beaten and sent away. Days later, she was returned to Amjad's home, where she says he raped her, forced her to convert to Islam and made her marry him.
Fouzia's story, which began in July 2015, was reported widely last year. Fouzia described her experience in captivity. She said: 'I thought God had left me and wanted to end my life. I stopped praying and hated myself. I thought I was evil and had done something to make God hate me.
I felt dirty and unclean all the time the monster made me do things I am so ashamed of. But I had no choice. It made me angry that God was blaming me.
I reached my lowest point and tried to commit suicide by taking some pills. I was rushed to the hospital and the monster used the opportunity to remove my ovaries, so I would not have any more children.'
The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) has been advocating for Fouzia and her protection. The humanitarian group gave Fouzia a secret phone to use and she was able to escape Amjad and find safe refuge.
BPCA says Fouzia's chance of escaping Pakistan was denied by Pakistan's British embassy and the United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Last year, under intense pressure, Fouzia's family returned her to Amjad. The BPCA assisted Fouzia in escaping again in October 2016, providing her with a safe house and protective care. Fouzia is currently safe but remains in Pakistan, technically, the BPCA says, as a fugitive from 'justice'. It said in a statment: 'Fouzia has described a despicable existence in the home of Muhammed Nazir. She was forced to cook and clean for him, was beaten and tortured by Muhhamed Nazir and his family and was required to satisfy his sexual desires at his whim.
'Fouzia spent most of her time alone and would weep daily praying for freedom. When she was returned by her family to the monster who had terrorised her so brutally, she reached her lowest point. Fouzia at that point started to engage in self harm.'
Fouzia said: 'I could not even kill myself, I felt totally helpless. I realised I was not getting out of this life on my own and asked God to forgive my mistrust in Him. I decided to use any spare minute to pray for freedom.
'The only time I felt any peace was when I prayed. God was my only company.
'One day my cousin secretly gave me a phone that the BPCA had provided, I realised God had not forgotten me. He was there for me just as he had always been.
'With the phone I was able to escape the clutches of a monster and his evil family. Now I pray for freedom from the forced marriage that I am shackled by.'
She is campaigning for an annulment of her marriage, but it is expected she will lose her case. The BPCA is raising funds for a professional solicitor to help Fouzia, and has launched an appeal for her to be granted asylum in the West.
It has also launched a petition calling for an end to abduction and forced marriages in Pakistan.

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