Pakistani Mob Wants to Burn Girl for Blasphemy


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.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    I will repeat my position on blasphemy laws: I do not oppose them per se, but would not allow third party filings. Any deity who thinks He/She/It/They have been blasphemed can show up in court to file charges and give testimony.

  2. raven says

    The accused girl had told him she had no idea there were pages of the Quran inside the documents she burned, he added.

    It’s quite likely this never even happened, that pages from the Koran were burned.

    Think it through. Some paper was burned. How does anyone know what was on that paper? It’s gone, poof, turned to ashes.

    And what were pages of the Koran doing lying around where anyone could pick them up and use them for a fire?

    This is probably just mob hysteria. Like accusing the Jews of using the blood from xian babies in their rituals.

  3. DaveL says

    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.”

    But the oppression of vulnerable sections of society (i.e. religious dissidents) by the majority for their temerity to disagree on religious matters is the only use of blasphemy laws.

  4. eric says

    The government’s response is welcome but still irrational:

    Their initial response might have been welcome, their later responses was just cowardly mob appeasement with zero justice at all.

    After the statement you cite, Ed, the authorities ordered all Christians in the area to abandon their homes and move. Approximately 900 people dispossesed, because the authorities would rather order the victims of mob anger – the vast majority of whom had absolutely nothnig to do with what happened – to leave the area than punish any of the mob.

  5. says

    Islam – the religion of peace.

    Yeah, it’s all “Islam’s” fault, the decades of protracted brutalizing war in that region — starting with the Soviet invasion — had nothing at all to do with this, no need for any complicated reference to facts or history here, nosireebob.

    The accused girl had told him she had no idea there were pages of the Quran inside the documents she burned, he added.

    Sounds like someone else gave the girl stuff to put in the fire; which strongly implies she could have been deliberately framed.

  6. raven says

    All I know of Pakistan is news reports seen in passing.

    It seems to be one big cauldron of ethnic and religious conflict.

    1. They don’t much like what is a tiny xian minority.

    2. They persecute the Amdiyyahs, regarded as Moslem heretics.

    3. There is a war between the Baluchis and the rest of them.

    4. There are conflicts with the Pashtuns on the Afghani border.

    5. There are a few pagans left over from Alexander the Great’s big adventure that aren’t well thought of.

    6. There are a lot of Sufis. And a lot of Moslems who hate Sufi’s, and IIRC, they have been attacked before.

    7. When they get bored with those, there are always the Hindus next door in India or they can start up the Kashmir conflict again.

    Probably I’m missing a few, not being that interested in who hates who in Pakistan. Really, they should find another hobby.

    Persecution of Ahmadis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    n.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Ahmadis

    Jump to Pakistan‎: With 1 million Ahmadis in Pakistan, persecution of Ahmadis has been particularly severe and systematic in Pakistan, which is the only …

  7. says

    Approximately 900 people dispossesed, because the authorities would rather order the victims of mob anger – the vast majority of whom had absolutely nothnig to do with what happened – to leave the area than punish any of the mob.

    This is Pakistan we’re talking about — their so-called government probably CAN’T stand up to a mob. Given the reality of that volatile failed state, we should probably be glad those Christians aren’t dead already.

  8. Fred Salvador - The Public Sucks; Fuck Hope says

    Taslima Nasreen mentioned this case three days ago – it’s the latest in a long line of travesties committed against religious minorities in Pakistan by self-righteous Muslim mobs with access to toxic blasphemy laws.

    And here we are sending them hundreds of millions of pounds in aid every year. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that my taxes are being used to fund religious oppression!

  9. DaveL says

    Sounds like someone else gave the girl stuff to put in the fire; which strongly implies she could have been deliberately framed.

    I’m with Raven on this one: the easiest way for this to happen is to simply make it up.

  10. raven says

    Approximately 900 people dispossesed, because the authorities would rather order the victims of mob anger – the vast majority of whom had absolutely nothnig to do with what happened – to leave the area than punish any of the mob.

    No, it isn’t justice.

    But the government might not have had any choice.

    In that part of the world, religious conflict rioting is common and can kill hundreds at a time. It happens every few years over one thing or another, like the Hindu temple put where a Mosque was because the Mosque was put where a Hindu temple was 500 years ago or something equally murky.

    IIRC, when Pakistan was partitioned from India, millions were killed in what were essentially huge riots.

  11. dingojack says

    “Das war ein Vorspiel nur; dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.” – Heinrich Heine, Heinrich Heine’s gesammelte Werke.

  12. Fred Salvador - The Public Sucks; Fuck Hope says

    Yeah, it’s all “Islam’s” fault, the decades of protracted brutalizing war in that region — starting with the Soviet invasion — had nothing at all to do with this, no need for any complicated reference to facts or history here, nosireebob.

    Spare me the apologetics; the same thing happens to religious minorities in every Islamic nation. Wether it’s grenade attacks on Coptic churches in Egypt or Yezidi Kurds used for target practice in Iraq, there’s only one common denominator amongst the oppressors – the popularly-supported idea, encouraged from the pulpit, that Islam is some kind of gang affiliation.

    In this particular case we’re talking about Islamabad – Pakistan’s capital city, a supposed bedrock of stability and centralised government control with a growing middle class who are becoming tired with ill-informed outside observers thinking Pakistan is just a cauldron of terrorism and poverty – because it’s not at all like that.

    The FATA maybe, but Islamabad? Nope! We have nightclubs and a movie industry and everything!

    Sounds like someone else gave the girl stuff to put in the fire; which strongly implies she could have been deliberately framed.

    Wouldn’t be the first time a Muslim has used the blasphemy laws to persecute religious minorities in Pakistan. Happens all the time, in fact.

  13. raven says

    Salmaan Taseer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    n.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmaan_Taseer

    On 4 January 2011, Taseer was assassinated in Islamabad by his own security guard … Qadri, who disagreed with Taseer’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law. …. Minister Gilani calling for the removal of Salmaan Taseer by the President. … the assassination, adding that Taseer was a seasoned politician and his death …

    A prominent politician called for repeal of their blasphemy law and was promptly assassinated.

    Pretty much tells you what it’s like living in Pakistan.

  14. busterggi says

    As long as the Abrahamic religion’s various cults believe their books are magic rather than man-made paper & ink this will continue. Religion, especially the Abrahamic forms, is truly poisonous.

  15. anubisprime says

    OP

    “The mob wanted to burn the girl to give her a lesson,” he told CNN.

    How very errr! altruistic of them!

    When such barbarity becomes knee-jerk in a population, or rather group, and it is based on religious tom-foolery, it can be taken that they feel their tom-foolery is under threat, and that fear motivates ever stronger and more draconian actions in response.

    A religion that is at peace with its self, is content and relaxed does not need to behave in such a paranoid hysterical and vicious way and jumping like a incoherent sand fleas while fretting about every slight or criticism of their delusion is a clue as to their inner peace.
    Seems that such an established religion like Islam does not have to behave in barbarity they are winning in their sphere of influence and their delusion is comfortably ensconced in society…or is it?

    Seems that more incidences of flatulent claims of insult unto Mo or his boss appear every day, the same is happening in xianity…it is a possible clue that religion in general is actually starting to look decidedly creaky and tatty, and it seems they are reacting…it is almost a conscious return to the bronze age in attitudes everywhere.

    That stench of righteous indignation is simple fear, and it will be driven and stoked by the titular heads of the religious authority of the religion that thinks it is under attack!
    It always is!
    All such witch hunts were and are!
    It would seem to signal that their delusion is not so comfortably ensconced in society as they would feel satisfied or comfortable with!

    And the bigotry drooling ignorance and crass cowardice of religious zealots always gets unleashed on the weaker minority members of that society to assuage their pompous ego and sadistic traits, at least for a little while, by taking revenge for, and acting perfect acolyte for, the religion that they consider is apparently under such dire straights.
    And maybe they will get special dispensation from their sky fairy for defending his patently useless ass!

  16. d cwilson says

    Niazi said that 150 people had gathered on Friday where the neighborhood’s Christian population lives and threatened to burn down their houses.

    Here’s what we should do: Send every Christian family in that neighborhood about 20 copies of the Koran and tell them to prominantly display a few of them in their windows. Then announce to the neighorhood that they have several more copies hidden in various locations throughout their homes. No one will burn down their houses then.

  17. DaveL says

    @19,

    I doubt that would work, because I doubt it’s really about protecting a particular book from being burned. Who knows how many Korans have been burned up in sundry house fires, yet I’ve never heard of a mandate in the Islamic world to keep every Koran in a fire safe.

  18. Who Knows? says

    @20

    You’re right. It wouldn’t work. They’d probably just want to burn the Christians for having the stupid books.

  19. interrobang says

    Spare me the apologetics; the same thing happens to religious minorities in every Islamic nation.

    Yeah, most of the Christian nations these days are past the point where they regularly burn Jews en masse. Not much past, but past.

    Of course, these days, African Christians, much plagued by a lack of Jews locally, just burn gay people, the gender non-conforming, and thousands of their own children as witches.

    Hindus in India quite frequently go after Muslims and other religious minorities thanks to Hindutva, which is part of the reason most of the former Indian Jewish community now lives in Israel.

    Islam hardly has a lock on sectarian mob violence.

  20. says

    I agree with Reginald @#2: doesn’t only god have standing? If god is offended, by all means, let it file suit like any other omnipotent being. But it seems to be in questionable taste that others can decide god is offended and file suits on its/their behalf.

  21. d cwilson says

    Okay, how about if we build them houses made entirely out of Korans? Surely no true Muslim would burn that down!

  22. d cwilson says

    DaveL @20:

    I’m sure there’s a loophole if a Koran is burned in an accidental fire. But if someone deliberately starts a fire and that fire destroys a Koran, shouldn’t they face the same consequence as this girl?

  23. eric says

    d cwilson: I’m sure there’s a loophole if a Koran is burned in an accidental fire.

    I’m sure some imams just cut to the chase, and say using a Koran to light infidels on fire isn’t just not-blasphemy, its some sort of holy sacrifice that awards you bonus virgins.

  24. grumpyoldfart says

    Religion is all about control, and when you get control over who lives and who dies, well that makes you almost godlike.
    `

    In a thousand years from now religious control freaks will still be boosting their own egos by killing innocent victims.

  25. Fred Salvador - The Public Sucks; Fuck Hope says

    Yeah, most of the Christian nations these days are past the point where they regularly burn Jews en masse. Not much past, but past.

    Oh good, it’s this old chestnut again.

    If you have no problem identifying the role that the Christian faith played in vile atrocities like the Crusades, the Inquisition (old cases, I know, but human suffering is human suffering), the Bosnian genocide (yes it did – Orthodox Christian identity played a large role in the Serbian nationalism that motivated those horrific crimes; ask the Greek Volunteer Guard), the massacres of Palestinian refugees by Maronite Christians in Lebanon, or any of the other numerous crimes Christianity has inflicted on the world (which none of you apologists seem to know about, given you always trot out the same old references whenever you try to make this argument), why get defensive when it comes to apportioning the blame for Islamic violence to Islam?

    You’re also not shy about apportioning the blame for anti-Muslim violence by Hindus to Hinduism. What about the counter-riots, during which several hundred Hindus were killed? What motivated that? A desire for revenge common to all mankind, I suppose? Yeah, because when loyalist gunmen went driving around the Falls Road looking for Catholics to shoot in the aftermath of a republican bomb attack, they’d fill the air with cries of Allahu Akbar when they found and killed one.

    Oh wait, no they wouldn’t.

    Islam hardly has a lock on sectarian mob violence.

    No, it doesn’t. Look at Burma. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call a spade a spade when it comes to Islamic sectarian mob violence.

    Religion is The Problem, but where specific religions present specific problems in specific cases, that needs to be addressed. Just because it happens to Muslims too doesn’t make Islam any less culpable for the suffering it inflicts on people whenever it is able to.

  26. dingojack says

    Fred Salvador – I’m sure in your head it goes:

    PERSON1: OMG a [insert genus here] thought about killing someone, therefore EVERYONE OF THE [insert genus here] IS TEH EVUUUULLL!!!!
    PERSDON2: Uh – I think you’ll find that [insert genus here] aren’t all evil. Have you considered that there could possibly be mitigating circumstances in this particular case?
    Fred Salvador: Oh you’re all just [insert genus here] apologists. You’re happy to blame [insert 2nd genus here] for all the evils they do, but you’ll bend over backwards not to blame [insert genus here].
    FTW!!

    Except not.
    Still, you win the title of “King of the dull non sequiturs” and rather tarnished aluminium foil crown. Happy?

    Dingo

  27. kermit. says

    Fred Salvador – WTF?
    You said: Just because it happens to Muslims too doesn’t make Islam any less culpable for the suffering it inflicts on people whenever it is able to.

    interrobang sums up his post with: Islam hardly has a lock on sectarian mob violence.

    Where did he say, suggest, imply, or imagine that Islam is any less culpable than other religions for mob violence and other injustices?

    Do you have general reading comprehension problems, or only on subjects that press your hot buttons?

  28. says

    Spare me the apologetics; the same thing happens to religious minorities in every Islamic nation. Wether it’s grenade attacks on Coptic churches in Egypt or Yezidi Kurds used for target practice in Iraq…

    Funny how you only mention places where there’s currently a significant amount of civil strife. Thanks for admitting my point.

    In this particular case we’re talking about Islamabad – Pakistan’s capital city, a supposed bedrock of stability and centralised government control with a growing middle class…

    You’re kidding, right? There’s communal violence all over Pakistan, and such violence directly affects the whole country, even the relatively prosperous and peaceful parts.

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