REUTERS - A Pakistani Christian girl detained on accusations of defaming Islam was too frightened to speak in a prison where she is being held in solitary confinement for her safety, an activist who said he visited her said on Thursday.
Religious and secular groups worldwide have protested over the arrest last week of Rimsha Masih, accused by Muslim neighbors of burning Islamic religious texts.
The case has put another spotlight on Pakistan's anti-blasphemy law, which rights groups say dangerously discriminates against the conservative Muslim country's tiny minority groups.
Christian activist Xavier William said he visited Masih at a police station where she was first held, and then this week in prison.
"She was frightened and traumatised," William told Reuters.
"She was assaulted and in very bad shape. She had bruises on her face and on her hands," he added, referring to an attack by a mob in her village on the edge of Islamabad after she was accused of blasphemy.
Under the blasphemy law, anyone who speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad commits a crime and faces the death penalty, but activists say vague terminology has led to its misuse.
Convictions are common, although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal, but mobs have killed many people accused of blasphemy.
There have been conflicting reports on Masih's age and her mental state. Some media have said she is 11 and suffers from Down's Syndrome. Masih's lawyer, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, said her family had informed him she was mentally ill.
One police official said she was 16 and mentally sound. William said he could not confirm she had a mental illness. Masih's family told William she was 14, he said.
Masih's arrest triggered an exodus of several hundred Christians from her poor village after mosques reported over their loudspeakers what the girl was alleged to have done. Emotions were running high.
A neighbor named Tasleem said her daughter saw Masih throwing away trash that included the burned religious material.
"If Christians burn our Koran, we will burn them," she told Reuters.
Other Muslims were more conciliatory.
"We protected the rest of the Christians," said Masih's landlord, Malik Amjad Mohammad. "People here support them."
Christians, who make up four percent of Pakistan's population of 180 million, have been especially concerned about the blasphemy law, saying it offers them no protection.
Convictions hinge on witness testimony and are often linked to vendettas, they complain.
In 2009, 40 houses and a church were set ablaze by a mob of 1,000 Muslims in the town of Gojra, in Punjab province. At least seven Christians were burned to death. The attacks were triggered by reports of the desecration of the Koran.
Two Christian brothers accused of writing a blasphemous letter against the Prophet Mohammad were gunned down outside a court in the eastern city of Faisalabad in July of 2010.
President Asif Ali Zardari has told officials to produce a report on the girl's arrest, which has brought protests from Amnesty International, British-based Christian group Barnabas Fund, and others.
Masih is due to appear in court in the next 10 days. She could be formally charged with blasphemy. She is being held in solitary confinement for her safety, said William.
"She would not make eye contact. She did not say anything. She did not answer back," he said. (SOURCE)
On a related note, if anyone still doesn't understand why there's such a tremendous difference between peaceful American Islam and violent Pakistani Islam, see my video "Three Stages of Jihad":
The plight of Christians is pitiable in Islamic countries. We Brits have two million or more Pakistanis living in the UK with all civil and religeous rights granted yet this is how they treat Christians in Pakistan. Even Paki converts to Christianity in the UK are harassed. The UK government should tell Pakistan that it is cutting of all ties and aid unless it grants its Christians their full rights and stops the absurd blasphemy charges or rather gets rid of that dreadful law.
BTW I don't know why you who should know better keep referring to "the prophet Mohammed". He's a false prophet and that's what he ought to be called imho.
Here here, I second the motion.
Mohammered is nothing more than a war mongoring peodophile rapist.
The Koran is the complete opposite of being a Holy book, rather is a completely Satanic anti bible, anti christ, upside down topsey turvey bunch of jiberish.
It should be banned, or atleast come with a parental advisery content label attached to the cover and a rating of R18+ or higher.
Warning this book contains extremist material, vulgar language that insights hatred and violence towards anyone who doesnt worship the Devil, that is a woman, a jew or a christian etc..
southwood when we refer "prophet muhammad" most of the time is trying to make the link between the horrible acts muslims do in the name of Islam and the horrible acts a bandit proclaimed "prophet" did in the name of Islam, any of us believe that a child molester, thieve, rapist, who hit women, murderer,and who tortured ppl is actually a prophet...
Brothers and Sister remeber to pray everytime for Christians in Islamic countries, we all know how rotten Islam is, yet we are in a safety place and it's not the same to know than living it every day, plz remeber to pray for them.. God Bless You
Muslims acting like bullies against a helpless young Christian girl make me both heartbroken and rage at the same time.
Satan really has blinded Muslims, how can they not see the injustice and inhumanity of these blasphmey laws?
Bob I like your choice of words.
Yea, it should be something like
the felon muhammad.
RM is INNOCENT.
Muslims tell us the pretty lie that Sharia applies only to the Ummah!
LIE, LIE, LIE AND LIE.
I call him profit yes "profit" mohamed
Just imagine if the British government threaten to deport all pakistani muslims out of the UK if the pakistani government succumb to the pressure of the islamist to kill the little girl? It'll stir up ripples in pakistani politics and people, and send a clear statement to the rest of the islamic world.
It will be a shame if that girl get executed, Not one western government not even the pope is saying anything about this little girl's plight. Its sad, its so sad
Some good news on this little girl's case. Hopefully the start of better things in Pakistan.
The Three Stages of Jihad was excellent! One of the best translations ever. Fantastic job, thank you!
P.S. Love your style and wit.
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