Pakistani Muslim leaders condemn minor Christian girl's arrest on blasphemy charges
London, Aug. 28 (ANI): Islamic leaders in Pakistan have came out in support of the minor Christian girl, reportedly suffering from Down Syndrome, who was arrested on charges of blasphemy.
The All Pakistan Ulema Council, an umbrella group of Muslim clerics and scholars, which includes representatives from fundamentalist groups, joined hands with the Pakistan Interfaith League, which includes Christians, Sikhs and other religions, to call for justice for the girl, Rimsha.
They also demanded that those making false allegations be punished, reports The Guardian.
Rimsha, 11, was charged earlier this month with desecrating the Holy Quran. The issue has shocked the country's Christian population. Rimsha's community, who were living in a mixed poor Christian-Muslim area near Islamabad, were driven out of their homes by a rampaging crowd.
Rimsha is being held in a maximum security jail, where her lawyer says she is deeply traumatised and begging to be released. Her parents have also been taken into protective custody.
Tahir Ashrafi, the chairman of the council, said the law of the jungle was gripping Pakistan, with police routinely pressured by baying mobs to register blasphemy charges.
We see the Rimsha as a test case for Pakistan's Muslims, Pakistan's minorities and for the government. We don't want to see injustice done with anyone. We will work to end this climate of fear, Ashrafi said.
Among the other unlikely Islamist groups rallying for Rimsha is Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, which has been accused of being behind violence against another minority, the Ahmedis, an offshoot of Islam.
This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the Muslim community and scholars have stood up for non-Muslims. We are together, demanding justice, demanding an unbiased investigation. And those abusing this law should be taken care of, said Sajid Ishaq, chairman of the Pakistan Interfaith League.
The blasphemy law in Pakistan is frequently used to level false allegations in order to settle scores. The police and the courts are usually too afraid to investigate the validity of the claims, leading to convictions on hearsay, the paper said. (ANI)