It was bad enough when we learned that an 11-year-old girl with Down Syndrome, Rimsha Masih, was arrested for blasphemy for alleged Koran desecration in Pakistan.
Now, we’ve learned that Muslim cleric Khalid Chishti may have planted the evidence on her:
The cleric, Khalid Chishti, was arrested late Saturday for allegedly planting pages of a Qur’an in a shopping bag containing burned papers and ash that had been carried by the Christian girl, said Munir Jaffery, an investigating officer in the case.
Why would he do something like that?
Maulvi Zubair and two other assistants at a mosque near Rimsha’s house told police Chishti deliberately added pages from the Qu’ran to some charred refuse she was carrying.
Zubair is said to have objected at the time but Chishti insisted it was the only way to get rid of Christians in the area.
Some of the blame also rests on Pakistan’s disturbing blasphemy laws, which allow these sorts of fiascos to occur:
The blasphemy laws have been widely abused as a powerful way to settle scores and disputes. People have been sentenced to long jail terms on extremely weak evidence, some of which cannot even be properly examined in court for fear of repeating any blasphemy.
But public criticism of the laws is itself dangerous — two prominent politicians have been assassinated by religious hardliners after speaking out.
The law needs to be repealed. It won’t anytime soon, of course, but those of us outside the country can speak out against it as much as possible.