The 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl who was charged with committing blasphemy against Islam has been acquitted, after an Islamabad court found evidence that a Muslim cleric who accused her of tearing up pages from the Quran may have been the one to plant the evidence.
The girl, known as Rimsha Masih and said to have mental difficulties, was arrested in August after she was accused of burning pages from the Quran, the Muslim holy book. Such an offense is recognized as blasphemy in Pakistan, which has a 97 percent Islamic population. Blasphemy is punishable by imprisonment and in some cases even death.
Rimsha was released on bail in September, but only now where the charges against her dropped, with the court saying that the accusations were "based on heresy and incriminated material that was planted in the girl's possession," according to defense lawyer Abdul Hameed. more >>
A pastor in Pakistan has been denied bail after he was accused of blasphemy and arrested by police, who protected him from a mob of angry Muslims.
Karma Patras was originally arrested on Oct. 13, after he held a prayer meeting at a Christian family's house in Sanghla Hill in central Punjab province, where he was asked about the meaning and relevance of the Muslim feast of sacrifice, Eid-al-Adha. The festival, celebrated by Muslims throughout the world, honors the sacrifice to God Abraham was willing to make by offering his first-born son Ishmael, as found in the Book of Genesis.
As reported by persecution watchdog International Christian Voice, Pastor Patras said that the feast was strictly a Muslim one and was forbidden for Christians. Patras quoted Corinthians 10:28-29, which says: "But if anyone says to you, 'This was offered to idols,' do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for 'the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness. 'Conscience,' I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man's conscience?" more >>
Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old girl from Pakistan who was shot in an assassination attempt by the Taliban for promoting education, met her family Friday in a British hospital. Her father, who has vowed to go back to his country with his daughter, said the family had prepared for her funeral.
"My daughter is my companion," Ziauddin Yousufzai, the father of the activist girl from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told ABC News.
The father, who traveled from Pakistan to England with the girl's mother and two brothers, met Malala Yousafzai for the first time at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, since she was shot in the head and neck in Pakistan on Oct. 9. more >>
A 16-year-old Christian boy has gone into hiding along with his family after he was accused of sending text messages denigrating the Prophet Muhammad to friends and neighbors in the city of Karachi. Protesters broke into their house and burned all the furniture and appliances.
Ryan Stanten, who has been charged under the blasphemy law, and his family, including his physically challenged father, have been in hiding since Tuesday night, when the cleric of the local mosque, Maulvi Ghulam Qadir, spoke to them about the text messages, The Express Tribune reported Saturday.
The boy's mother, Rubina Bryan, was suspended by the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), where she worked, on Wednesday, the day a complaint was lodged at the local police station. The same day, protesters broke into their house in the SSGC staff colony, threw the furniture and electric appliances on the road outside the colony, and set fire to them. more >>
A day after the United States condemned an offer by a Pakistani minister to pay $100,000 for anyone who kills the maker of an anti-Islam film that has caused an outrage across the Muslim world, the government of Pakistan reiterated on Monday it had nothing to do with the bounty.
Pakistan's Foreign Office said in a statement Monday that the bounty put on the filmmaker's head reflected the personal view of Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, and was not Pakistan's official policy, The Associated Press reported.
The statement came a day after a U.S. State Department official told BBC that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both said the film on the Prophet Muhammad is "offensive, disgusting, and reprehensible." more >>
A police investigator in Pakistan told a trial court Saturday there was no evidence that a minor Christian girl, believed to be mentally disabled, had desecrated Islam's holy book as her accusers had alleged seeking to expel Christians from the area.
The investigator, Munir Hussain Jaffri, told the court in Islamabad that his final report shows there is no evidence against Rimsha Masih, and it is possible that the cleric of a nearby mosque tampered with evidence by putting pages of the Quran into a bag the girl had been carrying, local media reported.
Police brought Rimsha to the court in a helicopter, and took her back to an undisclosed location after the hearing as her parents have received death threats. more >>