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Senior Islamic cleric defends Christian girl: “Our Heads are Bowed in Shame”

7 September 2012 General 13 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

by Jon Boone (The Sydney Morning Herald)

ISLAMABAD: The Christian girl who was allegedly framed for blasphemy by her local mullah was hailed as a ”daughter of the nation” by one of Pakistan’s most senior Islamic clerics who also vowed to guarantee her safety if she is eventually released from prison.

The heavyweight support for Rimsha Masih from the chairman of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, a grouping of Islamic clerics, is being seen as a remarkable turn of events in a country where individuals accused of insulting Islam are almost never helped by powerful public figures.

In a fiery news conference at a central Islamabad hotel, and flanked by other senior clerics, Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi demanded all the organs of the Pakistani state come together to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest last month of a girl who it is claimed has Down syndrome.

He also lambasted Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, the imam from the Mehrabadi slum neighbourhood, accused over the weekend of tampering with evidence to ensure the girl’s conviction.

”Our heads are bowed with shame for what Chishti did,” he said.

Later he said Chishti was merely the front man for other individuals ”behind the scene” who wanted to stoke local antagonism against the Christian minority in the area in order to force them to flee.

”I have known for the last three months that some people in this area wanted the Christian community to leave so they could build a madrasa there,” he said.

He said he would divulge more information about the people behind the alleged effort to construct an Islamic seminary on the properties vacated by the Christians at a later date.

The cleric, who has in the past been associated with the Defence of Pakistan Council, which includes members of banned militant groups, was speaking hours after a judge’s decision to further delay a bail hearing for Rimsha until later in the week.

Lawyers acting for Malik Hammad, a man from Rimsha’s neighbourhood who claims to have caught her carrying away the charred remains of a book that included verses from the Koran, said they could not conduct a trial because the Punjab Bar Association was holding a one-day strike.

However, the case against Chishti continued to grow after two more witnesses recorded statements implicating the mullah in a plot to strengthen the case against Rimsha.

Original post:  Senior Islamic cleric defends Christian girl: “Our Heads are Bowed in Shame”

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13 Comments »

  1. “hailed as a ”daughter of the nation” by one of Pakistan’s most senior Islamic clerics who also vowed to guarantee her safety if she is eventually released from prison.” well that is great. but how about a call to end your nation’s crazy blasphamy. muslims don’t seem to get this. it’s not just about the case of an 11 year-old or 14 year-old, or a possibly retarded child. it is about islam calling for the killing of anyone who insults the prophet or the koran or the sunnah. its about the poorly written koran being held up as some basis for law. its about the poorly written hadiths, some which may or may not be authentic, being held up as some basis for law.

    so why does he guarantee her safety? because it is rediculous to kill someone for burning a book? or for some other reason. 1400 years and counting. i guess it is baby steps to rationality.

    anyways thank allah for small mercies. i guess.

  2. So will that fascist cleric who framed the girl be put to death for desecrating the Koran?

  3. The law says death for insulting Mohammad, life in prison for dissing the Koran.

    I still think someone may die in this. They are still trying to kill Asia Bibi. I see posts calling for an end to it, but it is dangerous to speak out.

    It was brave of the muezzin Zubair to speak out first.

    What a hellhole. The brother of Shabazz Bhatti, Paul, went back there. Should have stayed in Italy.

    Islam is like the Mara Salvatrucha without the tattoos.

  4. lol. ms-13. no it’s worst then an international street gang. it holds legitimate power in much of the world.

    west coast dueces. represent.

  5. Well, we are all supposed to celebrate that we found a one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. What we don’t know is he’s acting one eyed or if he’s truly one eyed. How sad !

    Most practicing muzzies are brain dead. They can’t see the Qurant for what is; a clumsily compiled copied verses and mad rants.

    Building a nation around such a pile of crap in 21st century is the most assinine thing ever.

    True remorse is when Blasphemy laws are annulled. Not when some retard wakes up 3 weeks late.

  6. Well, for once I will disagree. Pakistan seems to be a place where if a piece of burnt toast yeilds an image of, what could percieved to be Mohammad your entire family could be killed. It does not seem that a person of any strata is protected from this ignorance. This cleric is not only speaking out for the girl but he is also speaking out for the 900 christians run off by the incident. He also detailed their plans within his statement. While I think this may be trivial act within the United States, it may be an act of extreme bravery within Pakistan. I would feel differently if he has simply focused on the girl. Its easy to be brave when it is clear she has suffered an injustice, but the stance supporting the 900 copts over a new Madrasa cannot be a popular one.

  7. If one speaks against the prevailing tribalism going on there, one is likely to be shot like a partridge.

    Humans follow their urges, wishes, desires. Ivan the terrible used to write beautiful essays on Christianity – the love, forgiveness, etc. Then he would go torture some boyars or kill everyone in Novgorod.

    Religion for many people is a fancy shellac, not in the grain at all.

  8. What is most troubling to me is that the “shame” seems to involve the framing of this child by a cleric.Not the shame of killing anyone man, woman or child over the burning of a few pages of a book.

  9. Tribalism allows anyone to be killed at any time. This mindset allows one to attack the other for not following “proper” customs even when one is in a foreign country. Women can be raped and killed, guide dogs attacked, bars blown up, etc. the supremacy of the tribe allows it. The imam says it is the right thing to do.

  10. hera,

    amen. “”Our heads are bowed with shame for what Chishti did,”” their heads should be bowed in shame for the fact that many islamic nations have blasphemy laws. 5 of them will kill you for “blasphemy”. many others will imprison you. another example as to why sharia has no place in the west, or really in the entire world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_Pakistan

    “On 12 December 2011, a teacher Shahid Nadeem in the missionary school of Faisalabad accused by Qari Muhammad Afzal (who is a member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which is a banned organisation) registered FIR on 28 December 2011 in the local police station and said that culprit had deliberately torn the pages of Quran and later burn these pages.
    On 2 March 2011 Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs (a Roman Catholic member of the National Assembly), was killed by gunmen in Islamabad as he was travelling to work, a few weeks after he had vowed to defy death threats over his efforts to reform Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.[20]
    In November 2010, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by hanging on a charge of blasphemy; the case that has yet to be upheld by the Lahore High Court has sparked international reactions. Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was shot dead by his security guard for supporting Asia Bibi. Salman Taseer had visited Asia Bibi in Jail and had held a press conference with her. [21] He had told media that Asia Bibi will be released soon and the President of Pakistan will soon annul her death sentence. This triggered mass protests in Pakistan with many imams of local mosques claiming that Salman Taseer had defied Mohammed and should be sentenced to death for it. Taseer was later assassinated in early 2011.
    In July 2010, a trader in Faisalabad complained that one of his employees had been handed a pamphlet which contained disrespectful remarks about Muhammad. According to the police, the pamphlet appeared to have the signatures and addresses of Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and his brother Sajid, who were Christians. The brothers were shot and killed while being escorted by the police from a district court. Both had denied the charge of blasphemy.[22] Allama Ahmed Mian Hammadi, a Pakistani Muslim cleric, claimed that Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities, had himself committed blasphemy by branding the murdered Christian brothers as victims of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
    On 9 July 2009, a FIR was registered against two teenager brothers, complainant falsely accusing them that they had spoke against Prophet Mohammad and this family had to left the country for their safety. On 30 July 2009, hundreds of members of Sipah-e-Sahaba and International Khatm-e-Nabuwat ‘IKNM’ the banned Muslim organisations, torched the Christian homes and killed Christians in the Punjabi city of Gojra Faisalabad and in the nearby village of Korian, District Faisalabad. The professed reason for the violence was that a Christian had defiled and spoke against Prophet Mohammad.Quran.[23][24][25]
    On 22 January 2009, Hector Aleem a Christian Human Rights Activist in Pakistan was arrested on a blasphemy charge. According to the FIR, someone sent a blasphemous text message to the leader of Sunni Tehreek. Hector Aleem was arrested because the sender had once contacted him. Hector Aleem, the Chairman of Peace Worldwide, had been working for a church in Islamabad which was demolished by the CDA (Capital Development Authority) for having been built illegally. When Hector Aleem objected to the destruction of the church he was faced with several threats and lawsuits ranging from fraud to criminal charges. He fought all of them in the courts and proved his innocence. He also faced several assassination attempts. Hector Aleem was eventually arrested on the charge of blasphemy.
    In February 2008, Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Council reminded Pakistan’s representative of the matter regarding Raja Fiaz, Muhammad Bilal, Nazar Zakir Hussain, Qazi Farooq, Muhammad Rafique, Muhammad Saddique and Ghulam Hussain. According to the allegations received, the men were members of the Mehdi Foundation International (MFI), a multi-faith institution utilising the name of Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi. They were arrested on 23 December 2005 in Wapda Town. The police confiscated posters on which Gohar Shahi was shown as “Imam Mehdi.” On 13 July 2006, the Anti-Terrorism Court No. 1 in Lahore sentenced each accused to five years of imprisonment, inter alia, under § 295-A for having outraged others’ religious feelings. Since 27 August 2006, the seven men have been detained in Sahiwal Jail, Punjab, where they were forced to parade naked, and were suspended from the ceiling and beaten. For this reason, they were constantly threatened and intimidated by prison staff as well as by other detainees.
    Christians and Muslims in Pakistan condemned Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code as blasphemous. On 3 June 2006, Pakistan banned the film. Culture Minister Ghulam Jamal said: “Islam teaches us to respect all the prophets of God Almighty and degradation of any prophet is tantamount to defamation of the rest.”[26]
    On 11 August 2005, Judge Arshad Noor Khan of the Anti-Terrorist Court found Younus Shaikh guilty of defiling a copy of the Quran, outraging religious feelings, and propagating religious hatred among society.[27] Shaikh’s conviction occurred because he wrote a book: Shaitan Maulvi (Satanic Cleric). The book said stoning to death (Rajam) as a punishment for adultery was not mentioned in the Quran. The book said also that four historical imams (religious leaders) were Jews.[28] The judge imposed upon Shaikh a fine of 100,000 rupees, and sentenced him to spend his life in jail.[29]
    In October 2000, Pakistani authorities charged Dr. M. Younus Shaikh M.D., a physician, with blasphemy on account of remarks that students claimed he made during a lecture. The students alleged that, inter alia, Shaikh had said Muhammad’s parents were non-Muslims because they died before Islam existed. A judge ordered that Shaikh pay a fine of 100,000 rupees, and that he be hanged.[30] On 20 November 2003, a court retried the matter and acquitted Shaikh, who fled Pakistan for Switzerland soon thereafter.[31]
    The police arrested Ayub Masih, a Pakistani Christian bricklayer for blasphemy on 14 October 1996 and jailed him for violation of § 295-C. Muhammad Akram, a Muslim neighbour to Masih, complained to the police that Masih had said Christianity was right, and Masih had recommended that Akram read Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.[9][32] The same day that Masih was arrested, Muslim villagers forced the entire Christian population of Masih’s village (fourteen families) to leave the village. Masih’s family had applied under a government program that gave housing plots to landless people. Local landlords resented Masih’s application because the landlords had been able to oblige landless Christians to work in the fields in exchange for a place to live. Masih’s application gave him a way out of his subservience to the landlords.[10] Upon Masih’s arrest, the authorities gave Masih’s plot to Akram.[9] Akram shot and injured Masih in the halls of the Session Court at Sahiwal on 6 November 1997. Four assailants attacked Masih in jail. The authorities took no action against Akram or against the other assailants.[9] On 20 April 1998, Judge Abdul Khan sentenced Masih to death and levied a fine of 100,000 rupees. Two judges of the Lahore High Court heard Masih’s appeal on 24 July 2001. Shortly thereafter, the judges affirmed the judgment of the trial court.[9] On 16 August 2002, the Supreme Court of Pakistan set aside the judgment of the lower courts. The Supreme Court noted Akram’s acquisition of Masih’s property and concluded the case had been fabricated for personal gain. The court also noted other breaches in the law of due process.”

  11. I know Mr. Hector Aleem. He did always help without any discrimination, when my father was arrested and police pushed him in jail. He help lot. Allah Bless him. I do not know after release where is he.

  12. chairman of the All Pakistan Ulema Council,Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi we appreciate keep it up. this is the real teaching of islam

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