Pakistanis protesting against the arrest of Christians — File Photo
Pakistanis protesting against the arrest of Christians — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani cleric who handed over a young Christian girl to police on blasphemy charges in a poor suburb of Islamabad claimed Friday he did so to protect her from mob violence.

Police arrested the girl, Rimsha, who reportedly has Down's Syndrome, in a low-income neighbourhood of the capital last Thursday after she was accused of burning papers containing verses from the Quran, and remanded her in custody for 14 days.

The imam of the local mosque, Hafiz Khalid Chishti, insisted the girl was fully aware of what she was doing, calling it a “conspiracy and not a mistake”.

Rimsha, aged between 11 and 16, is being held in a jail in Islamabad's twin city Rawalpindi, and her case has prompted concern from Western governments and fury from rights campaigners.

Chishti said on the day of the incident he went to the girl's home after people showed him the papers she had burned, and he found a crowd outside and three or four Muslim women attacking the youngster.

“Some women were beating her and other people were trying to break her arms when I rescued her,” Chishti told AFP.

Chishti, who leads the prayer in the mosque and was the first one contacted by the villagers to take action against Rimsha, said he avoided a major violence incident by handing her over to police.

“People were demanding to burn their house, but I went to police and called them to avoid a major incident,” he said.

The cleric said the girl was 14 years old and was fully mentally capable.

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Comments (72)

August 24, 2012 6:02 pm
If a Christian wants to become a priest in GB, s/he has to study sometimes more than 3 years. S/he is then on ‘probation’ for a period. Is it too much to ask that the Pak government sets up colleges to train Muslim clergy for different Islamic sects with co-operation from the sects? A course in such colleges will also have subjects like science and social sciences. Only a graduate from such a college could be employed to lead prayers and deliver sermons.
August 24, 2012 6:03 pm
where is the problem if paper got burn, as per Quran, photos or idols or any other physical things should not matter for the religion. Many people Reading Quran without understanding, because it is written in Classical Arabic. and Pakistanis and Indians Muslims people don't know Arabic.
Vinod kapoor
August 24, 2012 1:11 pm
Why are Pakistanis muslims so insecure about their religion? Why nobody has the courage to stand up and speak the truth? All of claim to be braves but What happened. Are all plan to become mujahideen by torturing helpless people. What happened to the land which taught all humanity 'Ek Noor Tey Eh Jag Upjaya Koan Bhaley Koan Mandey!' It is said that order is born of chaos. I hope order is not too far away. May god bless you.
August 24, 2012 3:47 pm
Muslims and Islam have become a laughing stock throughout the world due to our own foolish behaviour. Islam is supposed to bring peace and tranquility in our lives, but we are the most disturbed and inhumane nation on the earth right now. There is no one to blame for it, except ourselves individually. We read Quran but don't understand it. We pray 5 times a day with no understanding. We fast but only to remain hungry and thirsty. We do Haj, but for materialistic reasons. We pay Zakat from illegal income. I am sure it is not the 'Sirat-e- Mustaqeem' . " When God wants to punish a nation, He imposes a cruel ruler on it"
August 24, 2012 7:21 pm
People who threw away the Quran pages in garbage, where this girl found them, should be punished, and not this poor girl. What a shame! Shame on people who were beating this girl, and the Imam sahib himself for calling themselves Muslims! This is not what Islam teaches us! Illiteracy is the main cause of such incidents!
August 24, 2012 7:39 pm
Can Imam understand,what he reads everyday.Certainly not.
August 27, 2012 12:50 am
Naeem, your statement allow any Pakistani to wage war against you however, we will resort to peace because your statement is just a wish and you have no power whatsoever to even look at Pakistan with bad eye. One thing for sure that your biggest wish which will never come true. However, I do believe that laws should be changed to accommodate human rights. Human rights must be respected anywhere whether it is Muslims being killed in Gujarat, or just being killed for killing a cow or the christian girl for blasphemy. We need love but if not at least tolerance. PEACE
August 24, 2012 12:27 pm
If I am not mistaken, the holy Koran is written in Arabic.The Imam is telling us that the girl can read Arabic? His knowledge to know that the girl had the capacity to do what she is accused of in spite of her intellectual deficiency is amazing.
a muslim
August 24, 2012 1:08 pm
Agreed!! we claim ourselves to be pious Muslims and this is what we do with the old scriptures.All i can say is that we are bunch hypocrites. Where is the tolerance that Islam has always taught us?? Why is out nation so intolerant?
August 24, 2012 12:46 pm
Grow up chishti sahib, Allah is watching, Have you no fear of him, that one day you will return to him to face the truth, Girl is underage and has down's syndrom but you are fully grown healthly adult, Sham on you.
Much Amused
August 24, 2012 12:12 pm
What conspiracy is he talking about? It is bigotry that he should think and do something about.
August 24, 2012 12:57 pm
Well if you ask the muslim villagers over there if they even know 6 kalimas of islam or if they can recite holy quran or if they are even regular in their 5 times prayers a day, the answer of more than 90% would be a big "NO". But when it comes to such issues as the one being in limelight nowadays, everyone becomes so religious and emotional and starts a hue and cry. The most important thing in Islam is to discharge your obligatory duties first such as namaz, roza, recitation of holy Qur'an, etc. I wish the facts could be established before penalising this child!
August 24, 2012 12:50 pm
He trying his best to save his own neck, only way out in our society is to tell lies beacuse they trust the one who is telling lies.
M R Khawaja
August 24, 2012 12:15 pm
No wonder the country has become haven for these brainless Imam/Qarees and bloody Ulma so called Relegious people if you keep the country going that way all of you end up in Hell that is what this country is now. I am sure Girl did not know what Quran is and can not think youg girl from village has the knowledge and capacity to do such thing knowingly.
August 24, 2012 12:33 pm
Now the imam is playing the Village witch doctor with someone else's life, If this Imam has some humane feelings in him, then he should have been preaching Love and respect for others and value for Gods creatures. These people are directly responsible for destroying the peaceful and tolerant Pakistan culture
August 24, 2012 12:48 pm
He is not immam of islam, he is only trying to save his own neck by telling lies after lies.
critical analysis
August 24, 2012 12:45 pm
conspiracy against the girl.- I think the comments reflect the twist we tend to give information that is presented to us. why shoot the messenger. The imam avoided a major tragedy. I think better to call the authorities than to take matters in own hand. Someone who knew that this would inflame the streets could have purposely set the girl up in venegance with the family etc.
Mohammad Azeez Khan
August 26, 2012 1:11 am
You are right Hasan but where does Allah say in Quran you should burn the people alive. If Quran is really Allah 's book he will protect it. who are the pakistani's to burn the people alive. Burning the quran on paper does not destroy the real quran in Allah in heaven. If you can not create a human being then what right have you to burn a person alive.
Mustafa Razavi
August 26, 2012 2:41 am
Ejaz; What an irrelevant comment. We are not discussing disposing off worn out Qurans here, the issue is willful desecration like that in the Florida Church. We need to ascertain facts. Were there Quran(s) destroyed?. The age of the accused, the purported medical condition. If there was an act, was it her own or was it orchestrated by someone else?. If orchestrated, is the culprit an Islamic or an anti-Islamic fanatic?, an Anti-blasphemy law fanatic? or just a Pakistan hater.
August 25, 2012 6:18 am
you are what you do, and not what you preach......and,unfortunately a muslim helping a christian is not noted, but one discriminating, is always noted. i would say, you actual self comes out when provoked. and that is what precisely happened there.....
August 25, 2012 5:58 am
May Allah save Islam from Pakistan
August 25, 2012 5:43 am
It seems for the illiterate/literate minorities should never dare to burn anything written from right to left. it should be considered some holy writing and should duly deposited to the nearest mosque or police station else they should be prepared themselves for such kind of mob violence or capital punishment from the state.
August 25, 2012 5:39 am
just let the court decide. And I want to say the judges to do justice
True Pakistani
August 25, 2012 3:52 am
- you are confused, my 'friend'. do you even know what you are saying?
Ajaya K Dutt
August 25, 2012 3:38 am
As I see from a litany of posts in this; Muslims are standing up against it. God bless 'em. BTW Ishwar should bless 'em too.
August 25, 2012 2:12 am
downs syndrome persons has IQ of less than half as compared to normal persons.i guess this mulla has half IQ than this girl
August 25, 2012 2:05 am
The creation of Zia with support form around the world. Please CJ step forward and protect this little girl. Also my question to you all, since when burning of ripped off Quran pages became blasphemy?
August 25, 2012 2:05 am
Raika, fyi pretty much all muslims can read Arabic.
August 25, 2012 2:03 am
Maybe True Pakistani is not well aware of the entire quran but he got one thing right which you will not understand. There is no reason that girl be punished by the mob and yes the mob can not take law into their own hands no matter what ever the situation maybe. Wether it is the linching of two young boys (Mnib and Mughees) or a Pakistani Christian girl, law must be implemented and such linching in the name of robberies or religion must stop.
August 25, 2012 1:43 am
It seems to me that the imam was behind all this... and yes its a conspiracy against the christians.. in nywayz nobody in the world has any good thing to say about muslims my dear friends.. muslims have a bad name all over the world.. because of incidents like this. they have zero tolerance to anthing. No matter what a life of a human is more important than a piece of paper... Muslim need to look at their own country first and then look at the west. the west is far more better. How come this girl is arrested for blasphemy and the other people who bomb down mosque and holy places which has quran's in them those people are never charged of blasphemy and i dont see the crowd getting angry at them... when the mosque was being bombed how many quran's u think got burned and destroyed how come nobody made an issue them about blasphemy.. because at that time it was ur own muslim and now its a christian. u muslims are double standard hypocrites.
August 25, 2012 1:08 am
beautiful....very well said
August 25, 2012 1:00 am
What a shame. I say even if the girl did do this on purpose and fully sane and 14, she is still a child! It is tragic that things have come to such a pass in Pakistan, that we are arguing whether she is sane or older than 11 etc. She is a minor pure and simple.
Hamid Abbasi
August 25, 2012 12:52 am
Well said.The matter needs to be thoroughly investigated before it is too late.Meanwhile the child,her family and community be given protection of highest order.This is the time for Human Rights activists to come forward.
Ron Dsouza
August 25, 2012 12:44 am
First of all, I, as a Pakistani Christian, do not believe a bit of what the Imam has to say about saving Rimha from the mob clutches, as she was badly beaten up prior to being sent to the prison. Secondly, I can vouch for my Christian bretheren that none of us will ever violate the Blasphemy laws in Pakistan, as we are well aware of the consequences, hence, can not do so, and also, our religion does not teach us to speak ill-will about the majority religion. Frankly speaking, it is not possible for Rimsha to have done this act, as she is under-age and even if she is of right age, I am sure, it's not possible. Someone from that area has purpose framed it up to have a go against the poor Christians of that area, as has been the case always, accusing the Minorities of Blasphemy. I repeat we respect the Islamic laws of this country, but it is high time for the majority to stop this witch-hunting of the minorities in the name of the Almighty, fear his wrath upon you.
Ron Dsouza
August 25, 2012 12:29 am
Well & rightly said so, Mr. Ejaz
August 24, 2012 9:28 pm
As long as we have illiterate, coward and opportunistic people acting as Imams we will continue to have bigoted and hate-filled frenzied followers. Pakistan today under these mullahs is worse than the period of Jahiliya 1500 years ago.
August 24, 2012 4:01 pm
I am not a Muslim but is it not true that there was a woman that threw garbage on your Prophet everyday. The day she did not show up to throw garbage he went to look her up, found her sick and then cared for her till she got better? Then why burn, Kill, protest in the name of Islam everyday. Either these stories do not exist in your religion or you have gone mad. We the rest of ther world are getting tired of you.
Secular Pakistan
August 24, 2012 12:42 pm
The Image of Islam is further tarnished when the pearly words of wisdom pours out of the mouths of these mullahs. While Muslims obsess over the external storms (cultural and military) from the West, it is the termites(the clergy from Makkah to Bali)), infesting this tree that will finally crumble it.
Agha Ata
August 24, 2012 12:43 pm
By the way . . . Who threw up the pages of the Quran outside for the girl to pick up and burn them? And did she read it to know that it was from the Quran? Did she know how to read Arabic? The imam of the local mosque, Hafiz Khalid Chishti said, "conspiracy and not a mistake." The question is whose conspiracy was it? Was he a Christian who instigated this to bring trouble to his own community? OR was he a Muslim?
August 24, 2012 2:33 pm
Hey Vinod, Mind your own business. Treat you scheduled caste, Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists better. Then, you have the right to speak up. You persecuted the Buddhists out of India to Southeast Asian countries, and now you are pontifcating to us. The case of the girl is heinous, but it is our affair.
August 24, 2012 12:40 pm
Sanity prevailing on the people of Pakistan, I don,t think so... The mindset has changed... It is a hopeless case.. How low can mankind go. None of the politician are interested in this case .....horrible horrible.
Ali Hassan Ayub
August 24, 2012 1:24 pm
I heard about blasphemy cases in Bangladesh as well....You'd probably blame those on Pakistan.
Gerry D'Cunha
August 24, 2012 7:05 pm
All these incidents which have been happining in Pakistan with the minorities and specially with this minor girl, has brought many muslims ashamed living abroad and have defamed Islam in the eyes of the western world and raised question on Islam by many non-muslims 'is islam a peaceful religion'?
August 24, 2012 7:00 pm
girl may be fully mentally capable but the mob apparently was not!
August 24, 2012 7:01 pm
do you stand up to hindu extremists?
ali ahmed
August 24, 2012 8:30 pm
in down syndrome IQ and mental status is never 100%
August 24, 2012 8:27 pm
Its very clear now to every sane person in Pakistan that All Masajid and Madersa should immediately be nationalized by the Govt. Then Govt. appointed Imams should carry out daily prayers and Khutbat as ordered and approved by the Govt. And yes by Govt. we mean a legitimate civilian Govt. and not Khaki Ameer ul Momaneen.
August 24, 2012 1:01 pm
Well dear True Pakistani: you call others as ignorant etc.; can you claim yourself to be well aware of what is written in the Quran? Do you and for that most of the Pakistani Muslims understand what Quran says. I am not sure about this, may be you are. Do not accuse others when you cannot prove to be different from them. Majority of the Pakistanis cannot read even their national language, how they can understand Quran, so we depend on others who themselves do not know anything of the Quran. This is the tragedy of Pakistanis but I can majority of the Muslims in the world i.e. ignorance of their religion.
Kumar (Dhaka)
August 24, 2012 1:01 pm
I think Indian government behind this........pakistanis can sell this to the people.
August 24, 2012 1:02 pm
It is shocking to see what people did to the girl and more shocking are the insane comments of the bloggers here which represent another killing mobster. This mob who say mullah this, mullah that, culture this, culture that, Pakistan this and Pakistan that and so on if you let them loose I am pretty sure that they will do the same to the those who oppose them. Do not hate someone so much that if with time hearts change and they become your friends but you cannot take it and Do not love someone so much that if with time hearts change and they become your enemies but you cannot take it. Be realistic in your hatred and in your love.
August 24, 2012 1:06 pm
Once again conspiracy? oh my God, why this word has found place of Pakistani tongues, something that we want to do but is unethical, we name that unknown feeling, a conspiracy and then we do it.
August 24, 2012 1:07 pm
Stop the madness, Imam have said what he had to say and did what he had to do to protect her. It now on government where to take this and courts.
Ali Hassan Ayub
August 24, 2012 1:25 pm
Even if she did do it, she's just a kid. She should be released and nobody must make threats on her or her family. The blasphemy law does need to be amended so it can no longer be abused by people
August 24, 2012 1:07 pm
The police should have arrested those who were beating the girl up and threatening her not the girl. The maulvi instead of handing her over to the police should have asked the mob to disperse as Islam does not preach violence but tolerance. Instead he added fuel to the fire and had this girl arrested. He did not do her any favours
August 24, 2012 4:41 pm
I fully agree
August 24, 2012 4:40 pm
Well said
August 24, 2012 4:36 pm
Does anyone realize there is something wrong with Islam itself which creates situations like this?
August 24, 2012 4:12 pm
Very insecure, but when they go and live in west they want all the rights. By the way what lesson did he teach to humanity.
August 24, 2012 4:05 pm
Pakisatan and pakistani have fallen so low that this country should be abolished as a state. Its constitution is full of religous bigotory, so what do you expect from the people. The leaders remain silent over such issues. The Chief justice is busy with popularity contests. The country Pakistan has become a joke and Islams image is tarnished beyond repair in all civilized societies!!!
August 24, 2012 3:21 pm
Why believe all Hindus(Dawn's favorite commentators) and not an Imam that he handed over girl to police to save her from being killed. After all Hindus are not the only "pious".
August 24, 2012 2:50 pm
above discussion and the starting point of discussion clearly shows - how LOW we have gone as Humans. Grow up Pakistani Nation - Grow up. A little girl (aged 11) and having down-syndrom has done an act - for which she and her parents have sorry for. Interesting to note that the WHOLE Pakistani nation is Full of "ACTS" for which Quran came and Warned people not to do and no body bothers. The How nation is doing those ACTS in full and to the maximum force (Corruption, Deception, Lack of Cleanliness, and countless others things) and no one make it a point of Staging a protest. My full sympathies are with this little girl and her safety. If anything happens to her - I would loose any hope that I have for this nation..............>!
critical analysis
August 24, 2012 2:20 pm
i think ur misreading into it. Its conpiracy against the girl and family. as I said people get wild and irrational without investigating truth behind any blasphemy cases. It could be very well to pitch the muslims neighboiurs against this family and instigate another horrible tradegy. we need to do a better job of analysing - and this goes same for the neighbours who pitched against this xtian family.
critical analysis
August 24, 2012 2:16 pm
agreed. ...
August 24, 2012 2:15 pm
Our Islamic ideologies have degenerated to this: adult women beating the poor girl, people attacking her and trying to break her arm.. DISGUSTING, DISGUSTING, DISGUSTING!!! As a Muslim, I firmly believe that a divine 'azaab' is knocking on our doors (or may be it is upon us already). Unless we reform our ideologies, we will be destined to be humiliated, defeated, and relegated to the lowest rung of humanity, may be just above the animals. We might end up competing with some species of animals for who has a better orderly conduct.
August 24, 2012 2:15 pm
Can Somebody think of doing it knowingly? that to in Pakistan where burning quran means burning yurself. This is certainly a conspiracy against humanity.
August 24, 2012 2:08 pm
Jadugar, U sir r an ignorant of the fact that Imam may have saved the girl from severe injury or worst death by involving the Police from the mob justice. Now how a 14 yr old christian girl got hold of the Quranic script to burn in the street is open to all kinds of interpretations.
August 24, 2012 1:53 pm
all you talking heads here, why don't you go to Pak & India and be the change insteading of running your mouths. What is your contribution to postive change? answer is zero. Simply just posting comments here won't do anything, get off your butt and get involved in making positive changes through out the world
August 24, 2012 1:53 pm
When Pakistan one day gets a government that is not afraid to stand up to the molvi, that day Pakistan will start moving away from the insanity that has gripped it. However, 65 years after its birth, this nation has failed to come up with a government capable of standing up to the molvi and charging him for his murderous acts. One can only pray that Pakistan finds the moral courage.
August 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Get rid of the blasphemy law! Such laws belong to the feudal age and has no place in the modern age.
August 24, 2012 1:11 pm
Burning or floating away in a flowing body of water like a river and canal is a perfectly acceptable way of disposal of torn or damaged Quran. If the Muslims are so concerned about this issue why don't they dispose of the torn Quranic leaves themselves. Do they deliberately throw them away so un-suspecting poor and illiterate Christians can be entrapped? The government, army, police, judiciary and finally the people of Pakistan should be ashamed to let such atrocities be perpetrated against its hapless minorities.
True Pakistani
August 24, 2012 12:18 pm
- this, apart from the khakis, is the biggest misfotune of pakistan that we have ignorant, illiterate, rude, crude, bigot, uncouth . . . individuals , who in reality are NOT even muslims, for religious 'leaders'.
August 24, 2012 12:19 pm
Well, at last we have now got a hero who saved the girl from violence!!! It should not be difficult to medically verify if someone has tried to break her arms, this could be a proof of this Imam being honest in what he is claiming to be. I personally have no faith in such people since they are the ones who mis-educate the people who often do things without any verification.
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