Eleven-year-old Pakistani Christian girl charged under blasphemy law
An 11-year-old girl has been arrested in Islamabad accused of blasphemy. Ramisha Bibi of Meharabadi, who is thought to be suffering from Down’s Syndrome, is accused of burning pages of the Quran. According to reports, she was burning used papers collects from the rubbish for cooking when somebody entered her home and accused her family of burning pages from the Islamic holy book.
After the incident the Muslims in the neighbourhood gathered together, beat Ramisha’s mother and sister and even burnt some Christian houses, causing them to flee the area to save their lives.
Following pressure from local Muslims the police have registered an FIR (first information report) against Ramisha and have formerly charged under blasphemy law.
Due to her reported learning difficulties she was not able to answer the police questions properly and she has been sent to juvenile jail.
After mounting pressure from Islamists, her mother and sister have also been arrested.
The President, Asif Ali Zardari has taken notice of the incident and has called for the reports on the life and property within 24 hours. He has also said that nobody will be allowed to misuse the blasphemy law.
Christian rights activists have urged the Pakistani government to reform its controversial blasphemy laws to stop the continuous misuse of blasphemy laws, which are being used to settle personal scores. For example, on a single witness a person can be jailed for life for desecrating the Quran and people have been killed by violent mobs, while politicians who advocate a change in the legislation have also been targeted and killed.
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