Pakistani Christians live in fear after girl's blasphemy arrest
Fears for children's future
Ghafoor, one of 6,000
Christians living in this neighborhood, said the case has sent ripples
of tension and insecurity through her community. She is now concerned
about what her 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son may face in a
divided community pushed further apart by the case.
"I am worried
about the future of my children if this situation persists," Ghafoor.
"And I am very worried even if she [Rimsha] is released, she is not safe
Following Rimsha's arrest, news of her alleged crime spread rapidly through the local Muslim community.
Pakistani girl reportedly arrested for blasphemy
enraged by the accusations gathered at the police station, demanding
the girl be turned over to them, so she could be burned alive.
Police Inspector-General Bani Amin said officials were "concerned about
her safety," after "800 people gathered to block the road."
He said Rimsha has been kept in "protective custody, for her own safety."
There is precedent in Pakistan for the sort of extrajudicial killing Rimsha appears to have narrowly escaped.
In June of this year, a man in Bahawalpur, in Punjab province, was accused of burning a copy of the Quran.
was arrested and held by police, but thousands of angry people attacked
the police station, overwhelming local authorities. The mob reportedly
dragged the man to the spot where the alleged crime occurred, beat him,
and killed him by setting him on fire.
blasphemy laws forbid damaging or defiling a place of worship, defiling
the Quran, or defaming the prophet Muhammad; the charges carry a
possible death sentence.
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