In yet another example of outright barbarism, a Pakistani mob wants to set an 11 year old girl, who may have Downs syndrome, on fire for blasphemy for using pages of the Quran to start a fire for cooking — along with Christians in the area. Since the girl is illiterate, she had no way of even knowing they were from the Quran.
An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested after being accused of blasphemy by burning pages of the Quran in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
According to a statement released by the president’s office Sunday, the girl, identified as Ramsha, was accused by a local resident of burning pages of the Muslim holy text after she gathered paper as fuel for cooking.
Local media reports said the girl has Down syndrome. CNN was unable to confirm these reports, and a local police official said they are not true.
Qasim Niazi, the police officer in charge of the station near where the incident took place, said the girl does not have a mental disorder but is illiterate and has not attended school.
The accused girl had told him she had no idea there were pages of the Quran inside the documents she burned, he added.
Niazi said that 150 people had gathered on Friday where the neighborhood’s Christian population lives and threatened to burn down their houses.
“The mob wanted to burn the girl to give her a lesson,” he told CNN.
The government’s response is welcome but still irrational:
The statement from President Asif Ali Zardari said he has called for an urgent report on the incident and added that vulnerable sections of society must be protected “from any misuse of the blasphemy law.”
“Blasphemy by anyone cannot be condoned but no one will be allowed to misuse blasphemy law for settling personal scores,” said the president’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar.
No. The problem is not the “misuse” of blasphemy laws, the problem is the existence of blasphemy laws. Even if this girl knew she was burning pages of the Quran, it should not matter at all. Killing someone and burning down homes in response to such behavior is barbaric and insane.