Christians are grateful for the efforts of Islamic groups in Pakistan, including the country’s leading body of Muslim clerics, who have supported a 14 year old Christian girl that was falsely accused of blasphemy. The groups have called for the girl’s immediate release and safekeeping. Many Muslims and Christians around the world have joined together to ensure the young girl’s safety and to demand that Pakistan reforms its blasphemy laws.
Blasphemy laws have resulted in the imprisonments and murders of hundreds of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan.
08/30/2012 Pakistan (Barnabas Aid)- Islamic groups in Pakistan, including the country’s leading body of Muslim clerics, have come out in support of Rimsha Masih, the Christian girl with Down’s syndrome falsely accused of blasphemy, in an unprecedented and welcome move.
The All Pakistan Ulema Council (APUC), which includes representatives from fundamentalist groups, called for an “impartial and thorough investigation into the case” and for “strict action” to be taken against Rimsha’s accusers if she is found innocent.
Other Islamic groups, including Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) and Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, plus the Pakistan Interfaith League, which comprises minority religious groups, have also backed the young Christian girl.
APUC chairman Allama Tahir Ashrafi said this was “a test case for Pakistan’s Muslims, Pakistan’s minorities and for the government”. He condemned the mobs who regularly pressurise police into registering blasphemy cases, saying that it was like the “law of the jungle”, and called for the government to “make this case an example so that nobody will dare misuse the blasphemy law in future”.
Mr Ashrafi, who is also part of the leadership of a coalition of Islamist organisations, Defence of Pakistan Council, said:
We don’t want to see injustice done with anyone. We will work to end this climate of fear. The accusers should be proceeded against with full force, so that no one would dare make spurious allegations.
He also spoke out in defence of the hundreds of Christian families who were forced to flee their homes in Maherabad village amid a violent Muslim backlash, urging the government to take action to protect them. Mr Ashrafi said:
This is inhuman that those who have nothing to do with the case or are not a party to it are also being harassed.
Rimsha, who was arrested after being accused on 16 August of burning pages of a Noorani Qaida, a booklet used to learn the basics of the Quran, is being held in a maximum-security jail and is said to be deeply traumatised by her ordeal.
Following a medical examination, Rimsha’s age has been determined as between 13 and 14, though her mental age is below her chronological age. This means that her case will go before a juvenile court, which is likely to treat her with greater leniency.
Want to make a difference in this story? You can sign ICC’s petition calling for the immediate release and safekeeping of Rimsha today! Lend your voice by clicking here.