Young Christian girl accused of blasphemy and held in Pakistan jail
On August 23, 2012 At 10:05 pm
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Authorities in a slum in Islamabad, Pakistan have arrested a young Christian girl for alleged blasphemy, Reuters reports (see video embedded below). Details about Rimsha, the accused girl, vary. Some witnesses say that Rimsha, who is between 12 and 16 years old, has Down's Syndrome.
The landlord of Rimsha's family home says that neighbors saw her throwing out trash that included burned portions of the Koran. The landlord said that soon after the incident, people began to protest and demand that she be arrested.
Reuters also reports that Christian activist Xavier Williams visited the girl at a police station where she was first held, saying, "She was assaulted and in very bad shape. She had bruises on her face and on her hands." He said that she was attacked by a mob in her village on the edge of Islamabad after she was accused of blasphemy.
A spokesperson for the Pakistan Minorities Alliance said that Christian, who make up 4 percent of the Pakistani population, have been concerned. "There is no doubt that minorities, especially Christians, feel very insecure," he told Reuters.
Blasphemy, which is when someone speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad, carries the death penalty under Pakistani law. Opponents of the law say that convictions hinge on witness testimony and are often linked to personal vendettas.
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