MPs decry abduction, rape and forced conversion of Christian women

A woman looks out at the Hunza valley in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. Pakistan is one country where Christian women and girls are at risk of being kidnapped, raped and forced to convert to Islam.(Photo: iStock/Skazzjy)

The abduction, rape and forced conversion of Christian women and girls "is a stain on the conscience of the international community", an SNP MP has said.

Their plight is being highlighted on Red Wednesday on 24 November. The day of prayer and campaigning is held each year by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to raise awareness of persecution against Christians worldwide.

Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow, told ACN: "The prevalence of Christian women being abducted, raped and forced to convert and marry their abductor is a stain on the conscience of the international community."

She has added her name to a petition launched by ACN ahead of Red Wednesday calling on the UK and UN to do more to stop violence against Christian women and girls. 

"The international community ought to understand that women all over the world suffer sexual violence because of their religion," she said.

"Until we say enough is enough, nothing will change."

The petition has garnered cross-party support, with another signatory, Tory MP Rehman Chishti, calling the issue "of paramount importance".

"It is crucial that influential governing bodies such as the UN recognise the sheer scale of the problem," he said.

"It is absolutely crucial that the UK and international partners work together through multilateral fora to do all they can to address this.

"Freedom of religion or belief is a human right, too often overlooked, and no woman should be raped and abused because of her religious belief."

Red Wednesday will also see the launch of ACN's report, 'Hear Her Cries', which goes into detail about the "global problem" of the kidnapping, forced conversion and rape of Christian women and girls.

Labour MP Mike Kane said Red Wednesday was "a vitally important day to raise awareness of all the Christians, and those of other religious minority groups, who are made to suffer daily because of their beliefs".

He added: "All over the world, particularly in the global south, Christians are subjected to all manner of persecution – rape, murder, discrimination – and ACN's mission goes a long way to alleviating that terrible suffering."