Pakistan churches hail arrest of Muslim cleric for framing Christian girl

By Anto Akkara
Posted Sep 4, 2012

[Ecumenical News International] Church officials and Christian activists in Pakistan said they were encouraged by the arrest of a Muslim cleric on charges of framing an illiterate Christian teenager on blasphemy charges.

“This is a very positive development,” Victor Azariah, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan (NCCP), told ENInews Sept. 4 from his office in Lahore.

“There is a strong demand even in the media now to end the abuse of the blasphemy law. We hope this will lead to a positive outcome,” said Azariah, reacting to the Sept. 2 arrest of Muslim cleric Khalid Chishti on the charge of framing Christian girl Rimsha Masih.

The arrest of the illiterate and mentally challenged girl 10 days earlier had evoked widespread condemnation in the Pakistani media. There were calls for an end to abuses of the law, which criminalizes criticism of Islam or abuse of the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

According to police reports, eyewitnesses said the arrested cleric had torn and planted pages of Quran in the girl’s bag, which held burned trash papers.

A mob had gathered to torch the girl’s house. In addition, more than 300 Christians in the Islamabad suburb had fled to escape mob violence following repeated announcement of the “blasphemy” on loudspeakers of the local mosque.

Reports said the accusation was made to chase Christians out of the area.

“This is a big development in the fight against the abuse of blasphemy law,” Joseph Francis, founding director of CLAAS (Centre for Legal Aid Assistance-Settlement) told ENInews.

“For the first time, we have a crystal clear case of how the blasphemy law is misused,” said Francis, whose organization has extended legal support to 102 people, most of them Muslims, charged with blasphemy.

“An overwhelming majority of the blasphemy allegations are aimed at settling personal enmity, business jealousy and grabbing property,” Francis said.


Comments (2)

  1. Issa Kirarira says:

    That is the beauty of Islam. Islam will never protect the reprobates; fabricator, hypocrites, even if they are among them. The culprits should face the law. Blasphemy is one of the worst crimes before God.
    Let us all live happily on the universe as advised by the Quran- the holy book of Islam and stressed by Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim scholar who has encouraged humanity to be nice to each other in our diversity life style.
    Issa Kirarira

  2. Julian Malakar says:

    We like to see more awareness among good Muslims, law abiding citizen of Pakistan on the issue that without proven guilt no one should be punished. A mob cannot get free license to kill a person or destroy a Church or a Mosque. Good Muslims should condemn publicly for any terrorist activities that endanger innocent life in the name of religion. Thanks to Pakistani mass media in bringing justice in this juvenile blasphemy case. Keep up good works in the name of Allah, who is almighty and merciful.

Comments are closed.