The ‘Maria Goretti of Pakistan’
December 14, 2011
The vicar general of the Diocese of Faisalabad, Pakistan’s third-largest city, fears that the local investigation into the murder of Mariah Manisha (also called Mariah Bibi), an 18-year-old girl compared by local Christians to St. Maria Goretti, will be tainted by “corruption and local contamination.” Manisha, according to the Fides news agency, was murdered after resisting rape, a forced marriage, and a forced conversion to Islam.
“High profile political leaders are moving to drop Mariah’s murder,” says Father Khalid Rashid Asi. “We will officially ask that the investigations into the case are assigned to a team of Federal prosecutors.” Local Muslims are willing to lie and say that Mariah committed suicide, according to other Church officials.
The Pakistan Christian Post reported that
Mohammad Arif Gujjar accompanied with his Muslim friends dragged Mariah Bibi in front of her mother shouting loudly, “You are a beautiful girl and must convert to Islam to be my wife,” which Mariah Bibi denied and cried for help. Mohammad Arif Gujjar became furious on denial of Mariah Bibi to accept Islam and shot her killing instantly and forced her mother Razia Bibi to run away to save her life.
Following the criminal investigation, the diocese “will evaluate the case from a spiritual point of view and examine the possibility to report it as a case of martyrdom,” says Father Asi, who adds that there have been “several cases like this, where the believers, poor and humble, have preferred to die rather than abandon their faith under threat.”
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