11 year old girl with Downs Syndrome jailed for Blasphemy: The Church of England Newspaper, August 26, 2012 p 6. August 28, 2012Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Persecution.
Tags: Blasphemy Laws, Islamabad, Rimsha Masih
The Government of Pakistan has confirmed that an 11 year old Christian girl with Downs Syndrome has been arrested for blasphemy and is being held by police for questioning – and for protection from a mob that is seeking her death.
A spokesperson for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, said the president has taken “serious note” of the arrest of Rimsha Masih and has directed the Interior Ministry to look into the matter.
The sequence of events that led to the arrest of Rimsha (also spelled Rifta) Masih remains unclear. However the Express Tribune reported that officials at the Ramna Police Station outside Islamabad had confirmed the girl had been accused of burning a Muslim text – variously described as 10 pages from the Koran or portions of the Noorani Qaida – a children’s Koran reader. The girl has since been taken into custody, the police have confirmed.
The police said after the complaint was filed on 16 August the girl and her mother were assaulted by a mob. The website “Christians in Pakistan” which first reported the arrest, stated the girl who lived in the Mehrabadi neighborhood of the capital had Downs Syndrome – a fact subsequently confirmed by the police after a medical examination.
Following her arrest, local mullah’s called for all Christians to leave the village. The Pakistan Christian Post reports that approximately 1000 Christian families have fled the Islamabad slum out of fear of reprisals from Muslim extremists.
A police investigation into the incident is underway, however, on local official said that if the girl had not been taken into custody, she might have been harmed by the mob. Under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, those found guilty of insulting Mohammad or the Koran can be sentenced to death.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.