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 >>
A court in Pakistan has sent a Muslim cleric to 14 days in custody after he was accused of tampering with evidence to frame a minor Christian girl, believed to be mentally disabled, in a "blasphemy" case and thereby expel all area Christians.
Even as Rimsha Masih, who was arrested from the Mehria Jaffar area on the outskirts of Islamabad on Aug. 16, remains in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, a witness told a court in the national capital on Sunday that the cleric, identified as Imam Khalid Jadoon, planted evidence against the girl, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported.
The witness, identified as cleric's deputy Hafiz Muhammad Zubair, said he and two others saw the cleric adding pages carrying Quranic verses to ashes that the complainant, Ammad, handed to him as evidence against the girl. more >>
Christians in Pakistan are responding to the persecution attacks they often endure by demanding their own province within the South Asian country – although some have questioned the likelihood of such a request being granted by the government.
"I don't have much hope that such a request would be granted," Faith McDonnell, the director of Religious Liberty Programs at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), shared in an email with The Christian Post on Friday.
"First, I don't think that all of the Christians of Pakistan want this. Second, I think that Islamists do not want Christians to have ANY safe place or any autonomy. They believe that Pakistan is part of the Islamic world, in fact, that all the world should be under Islam. Third, I think that this would be very problematic for the Government of Pakistan," McDonnell continued. more >>
A young Christian girl, believed to be mentally disabled and who has been in judicial custody for 15 days on charges of "blasphemy," will be held for another fortnight, a court ruled Friday. Her accuser has threatened extra-judicial action if the girl is not convicted.
Rimsha Masih, who was arrested from the Mehria Jaffar area on the outskirts of Islamabad on Aug. 16 and has been in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi since then, was produced in the judicial magistrate court in the national capital amid tight security on Friday.
The face and torso of the girl with Down syndrome were covered with a white sheet as she was taken into the courtroom by policewomen and armed police guards. She was accused of burning a Noorani Qaida, a booklet used to learn the basics of the Holy Quran. It was also alleged that she had thrown the booklet in garbage after putting it in a plastic bag. Blasphemy is punishable by death in this Islamic country. more >>
As most of the western world remains in shock over the news in Pakistan that an 11-year-old Christian girl believed to have Down syndrome was imprisoned over the nation's strict blasphemy laws, the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) has praised the World Council of Churches (WCC)'s decision to hold an urgent international conference on the issue.
"At the best of times, the situation for most of Pakistan's Christians is deplorable. They live in extreme poverty and degradation, limited to the lowest of job and educational opportunity. But there is hardly ever a best of times. They always live under the Damocles sword of this abominable Blasphemy Law, never knowing when they could be accused, or what ridiculous issue will cause mobs to form," said IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell in a statement.
Rimsha Masih, the young Pakistani girl, was put in jail for allegedly burning pages from a book containing Islamic scripture, although reports varied on whether the girl herself burned the pages, and whether she actually has a mental disability. She was also apparently attacked by the villagers in her community in mob-induced incident, but the vagueness of the details has not stopped the larger part of the international community to react with deep concern about the case. more >>
Pakistan's human rights body strongly condemned on Monday the arrest of an 11-year-old Christian girl with Down syndrome after she was accused of "blasphemy." Tensions have compelled around 600 Christians to flee the area.
The girl, identified as Rifta Masih from the rural area of Mehrabadi in Islamabad, was accused of burning a Noorani Qaida, a booklet used to learn the basics of the Holy Quran, last Thursday. It was also alleged that she had thrown the booklet in the garbage after putting it in a plastic bag.
Following the accusation, which appears to be untrue, a mob demanded for the arrest of the girl and threatened to burn houses belonging to Christians. more >>