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Teenage Kalash girl denies reports of forceful conversion to Islam

Addressing a press conference in Chitral while flanking alongside her father and uncle at Chitral Press Club, Reena rejected a foreign news agency report that claimed she was converted forcefully.

Reena, who was produced before a judicial magistrate today & gave this statement, says DC Chitral

The 15-year-old underlined that she didn’t have any pressure in embracing Islam. She ‘drew inspiration from her Muslim school friends about Islam and decided to convert.’

Speaking on the occasion, girl’s father said Kalash girls are converting to Islam, but in some of the cases they revert to their parent religion because they are not provided with their due rights. He said the Muslims should ensure provision of rights so that Kalash girls may not reconsider their decision.

He also sought assurance in writing from Muslim elders that the girl wont be mistreated.

Reena, who was produced before a judicial magistrate today & gave this statement, says DC Chitral

More conversions ‘in the past’

The girl, during her presser, divulged that three girls also recently converted to Islam wilfully. ‘Why the issue is being created in my case,” she asked.

The ninth-grader appealed to the media and people not to make a mountain out of a molehill and don’t portray her private matters a public affair.

Girl disputes foreign news agency report

According to a AFP report published on Thursday [June 16], hundreds of Muslims clashed with members of a remote animist tribe in Chitral after a teenager claimed she was forced to convert to Islam.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd attacking a house in the Kalash tribe’s valley of Bumburate in the northwestern district of Chitral, where the girl had gone to give a police statement about her conversion, said Kalash activist Luke Rehmat.

The Kalash, Pakistan’s smallest religious minority, celebrate their gods through music and dance — an anomaly in Pakistan.

They number only around 4,000, according to Rehmat. Increasingly their youth are converting to Islam, prompting activists to campaign to preserve the traditions of the ancient, diminishing tribe.

Chitral, a northern district of the troubled Khyber-Pukhtunkwa province, has long attracted tourists for its beauty and has hitherto been notable for having been spared the country’s violence.



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