This post is an update to one recently made regarding the arrest of Rimsha Masih, an 11-year-old Pakistani Christian girl, with Down’s Syndrome. Masih was charged under Pakistani’s anti-blasphemy law because she was in possession of torn-out pages of the Qur’an (Here). Under Pakistan’s strict anti-blasphemy law, anyone speaking ill of Islam or Muhammad commits a crime punishable by death.

According to Reuters, a Muslim imam, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, has been arrested after witnesses reported seeing him stuff the pages of the Qur’an in Masih’s bag. The difficulty for the 11-year old is that even if she is innocent, retaliation against her family is still expected. Reuters reported this statement being made by one of her Muslim neighbors:

“Pour petrol and burn these Christians,” said Iqbal Bibi, 74, defending the imam on the steps of the mosque where he preaches in Masih’s impoverished village of Mehr Jaffer.  “The cleric of the mosque has been oppressed. He is not at fault. He is innocent.”

“The cleric should be freed,” said Noman, a 12-year-old boy wearing a t-shirt and shorts as bearded men gathered at the village mosque and barefoot children played nearby.

“She (Masih) should be punished.”

Amazing — the cleric should be freed— even if he actually committed the crime! She should be punished!  Why? Because 11-year-old Rimsha Masih and her family are Christians; non-Muslims, and non-Muslims deserve to die (or run out of town at the least).

Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law is often enforced by Muslim’s themselves without regard to the government’s handling of the cases. Even to criticize the severity of the law results in death. Consider these two instances as reported by Reuters:

  • In January 2011, the governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by his own bodyguard because the governor had called for reform of the anti-blasphemy law.
  • Two months after Taseer’s murder, Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, was killed by the Taliban for demanding changes to the law.

How does one justify such actions in the name of Allah and his Muhammad? Was it not our Lord our warned us, “Matthew 12:33 (NASB) 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” If Islam is the “religion of peace” then where is the peace? Why does an 11-year-old child represent such a threat to Allah and his Muhammad? It really has nothing to do with the 11-year-old; but rather, the tree itself. The tree is bad. The 11-year-old is like a child playing by a rock while a rattlesnake coils nearby in the sun; the child is bitten, not because the rattlesnake is threatened — but because the rattlesnake is a snake.