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Aug-19-2012 14:41printcomments

Pakistan Jails Christian Teenager over Blasphemy

William Nicholas Gomes focuses on the case against a little Christian girl who allegedly burned pages of the Qur'an.

Inside of a Pakistani jail
Courtesy: bosnewslife.org/

(SALEM) - All Hell is breaking loose in Pakistan where extremist Muslims are losing their minds over another burning of the Holy Qur'an.

This time the offender isn't in a member of the U.S. military, in fact she couldn't be much different. The book burning suspect in this case is a young girl from a Christian family who is described as mentally retarded.

Now due to her alleged act, calls for destruction of Christian neighborhoods are ringing out and people are frightened.

We can only imagine what a harrowing experience it all is for the little girl accused of burning the Holy Qur'an. Her nightmare is one shared by many other children in Pakistan. Ansar Burney Trust, an advocacy group supporting various projects in Pakistan, estimates that there are as many as 4,500 juveniles in Pakistani prisons.

"These include children who are awaiting trial, those already sentenced and even those who were born into imprisonment; with no fault of their own but because their own mothers were prisoners there," the group added in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife.


Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President's Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel +92 51 9204801+51 9214171
Fax: +92 51 9207458
Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

Re: Pakistan Jails Christian Teenager over Blasphemy
Dear President of Pakistan,


I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

I have been informed by prominent journalist Stefan J. Bos of BosNewsLife Asia Service, who along with Pakistan Christian Post, reports that Pakistani authorities have detained a young Christian girl in the capital Islamabad because she allegedly burned the Holy Qur'an, viewed as a holy book by Muslims, an advocacy official told BosNewsLife Friday, August 17.

"Ramisha, a resident of Islambad's slum area Meherabadi, was sent to the [nearby] Adiala Jail," said Farrukh H. Saif, executive director of Pakistan-based rights group World Vision In Progress.

"A Local Muslim, Muhammad Amjid, filed a complaint in Ramna Police station that she had burned the Holy Qur'an," added Saif, whose organization provides legal aid to the girl and her family.

He said police soon detained Ramisha, under controversial blasphemy legislation that has been criticized by the West. She was only identified by her first name, amid apparent security concerns.

It came shortly after Muslims found a torched Holy Qur'an Friday, August 17, in Meherabadi, an impoverished neighborhood of some 2,000 Christians, he added. "The Muslims accused the Christians that they had burned Holy Qur'an and those Muslims announced the incident in all the mosques" around Friday prayers, Saif said.

According to Pakistan Christian Post, an 11-year old mentally retarded Christian girl named Ramisha Bibi; daughter of Misrak Masih, resident of Meherabadi in D-11 Islamabad was arrested under Section 295 B PPC of blasphemy laws by Ramna Police Station on August 17, 2012.

Meherabadi is slum area in Sector G-11 of capital city of Islamabad where Christian working as sanitary workers or Christian women working as housemaids in homes of high profile Muslim officials are living from decades alongside Muslim laborers.

Misrak Masih resident of Meherabadi slum was unable to have treatment of her mentally ill daughter Ramisha who was not used to playing with other children in the streets, kept roaming the vicinity when her parents were left for daily work.

According to some Muslims living the in vicinity of Meherabadi, Ramisha was seen burning pages of the Qur'an (Holy Book of Muslims) on which they called other Muslims and announced to burn homes of Christians if Ramisha was not punished by administration after Friday Prayers.

Mohamad Amjid, a local resident, was assigned by a Muslim mob gathered after incident to approach Ramna Police Station and file charges against the 'blasphemer', the 11-year old mentally retarded girl Ramisha, for burning pages of the Holy Qur'an.

THOUSANDS SURROUNDED

"Now almost 5000 Muslims have surrounded that area and the lives of the Christians is in danger," Saif claimed. He said he had urged Christian supporters "to please pray" for fellow believers in Pakistan to ensure that "God may protect them from any mishap."

It was not clear Friday what Ramisha's role, if any, was in the burning incident.

Officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Rights groups have expressed concern that throughout Pakistan, thousands of children are locked inside police cells or overcrowded jails. They say the children are victims of a justice system that treats the very young much the same as adults.

Kids as young as seven can spend years behind bars - before the courts have even decided if they are innocent or guilty, according to observers familiar with cases.

THOUSANDS JAILED

"We estimate that there are as many as 4,500 juveniles in Pakistani prisons," said Ansar Burney Trust, an advocacy group supporting various projects in Pakistan and abroad.

"These include children who are awaiting trial, those already sentenced and even those who were born into imprisonment; with no fault of their own but because their own mothers were prisoners there," the group added in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife.

There has also been pressure on Christians in prison to convert to Islam, activists and Christians say.

Several have been detained on "blasphemy against Islam" charges, including Asia Bibi, a mother of five. Bibi, who was sentenced to death and still awaits her appeal, has been behind bars since June, 2009.

Christians comprise less than 5 percent of Pakistan's heavily Muslim population of 190 million people, according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

I urge you to immediately release Ramisha.

Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
www.williamgomes.org

Donate to Support William's Human Rights Stories; donate through PayPal

Donate to: williamgomes.org@gmail.com

______________________________

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.

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