By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Muslims torched Christian homes and “destroyed” a church in a slum area of Islamabad while suspected militants shot at another church outside Pakistan’s capital, after the jailing of a mentally handicapped Christian girl for “blasphemy”, witnesses said Tuesday, August 21.
“Our staff and a few [other] Christians went into [Islamabad’s] colony of Meherabadi [late Monday local time ],” added Farrukh H. Saif, executive director of Pakistani rights group World Vision In Progress (WVIP).
“We found that five houses were burned and one church was destroyed,” he told BosNewsLife. “Bibles [have been torn] to pieces and a [church] cross is broken”, the official said.
Elsewhere in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi the Catholic St. Matthew’s Church was “attacked by unknown extremists at 2 a.m. local time,” added Saif, citing investigators.
“They opened fire at the Church building which damaged the front of the building,” in Karachi’s Pehlwan Goth neighborhood, he explained.
Karachi’s WVIP representative in Karachi, Sunny Bernard Gill, said the incident had “created tension and fear among Christians of the Pehlwan Goth” area.
This was not an isolated incident in the neighborhood as “Muslim extremists” have attacked Christian properties and churches twice over the last year, Saif said.
The latest violence came as 11-year-old Rimsha Masih was preparing to spend another night in Adiala jail, a grim facility in Rawalpindi, close to Islamabad.
Police jailed the girl Friday, August 17, after at least hundreds of Muslim protesters demanded that she face charges under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
A local cleric had said she burned pages of the Noorani Qaida, a religious textbook used to teach the Koran to children, said Saif.
Rimsha is thought to be mentally handicapped, but police quoted in some media claimed “she had no mental impairments” and that she may be older.
However Saif told BosNewsLife he is convinced about her young age and stressed she “could not have known she burned the textbook as she can not read.”
As Pakistani Muslims celebrated the feast of Id al-Fitr, Rimsha was still in Adiala jail reportedly with her mother, awaiting their fate.
Muslim mobs have been pressuring the girl’s Christian neighbors and others to flee, Saif and other activists said.
Thousands of Christians were still outside the slum area where the alleged burning incident happened, fearing for their lives, according to several human rights workers.
There were concerns late Tuesday, August 21, that at least several Christian refugees would have no place to return to, amid reports of burning homes. WVIP said it was distributing food among hundreds of impoverished Christians.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari stressed in a statement that he had “taken notice” of the situation and ordered the Interior Ministry to investigate the girl’s detention.
Under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy legislation anyone, including apparently minors, can face the death penalty or at least a long prison term for blasphemy against Islam.
On Monday, August 20, Dutch parliamentarians of the ChristianUnie, or’ChristianUnion’ party, urged the Netherlands and the European Union to pressure Pakistan to release Rimsha and demand an end to the blasphemy laws.
The case underscores concerns over thousands of children who rights activists say are languishing in Pakistani jails, often without proper legal representation, or just forgotten by what critics view as a corrupt and bureaucratic judicial system.
Islam has become impossible to live with on the same planet. Where there is islam, there is Terror, Fear, Hate, Blood, Violence, Irrationality, and Small Minds. Islamists keep acting like deadly little children.
Islamists need to stop following a War Lord Madman who occupied all of Arabia and killed all the Jews and Christians there. The Arab husbands heads were cut off and all of the Arab Mothers and Arab Children raped by the Warlords Army, then sold at the Slave Market, for more money, for more weapons, for more pillaging of more Arab land.
Leave Islam, Please, Please, and find love and caring for Humans. Humanity is suffering too much. No further attacking humanity. We need to Love one Another and Help one Another or will will destroy ourselves. May Humanity have a Nice Future with Love and Goodwill for All Humans. Peace and Love to All
They have the right to prosecute the girl through their law if she had intentionally done it. And if it is intentional, then it is over – she’ll be prosecuted. But what is the madness in destroying other religious artifacts (the Cross) and tearing the Bibles. She did it unknowingly, but they did it knowingly and in larger quantities and created fear and destruction to the remaining christians. Then as per their law should not they all be prosecuted and their heads beheaded? When the Muslims invaded India they destroyed many temples of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and also Sikh gurudwaras. Is that an act of religiousity and humanity?
I wonder which kind of God this people are worshiping because my own God is not a God of violence but rather God of peace. Generally, i do not blame their followers but some of their leaders who have chosen to teach and poison the mind of the little kids right from their tender age about Christians, that is the main reason violence is so rampant in the world today. May God have mercy on them. The last day shall tell who is worshiping true God and who is deceiving each other. Lord come to your children rescue before this miscreant consume us.
(BosNewsLife received the following horrific comment. We publish it only to underscore the deep hatred faced by Pakistan’s Christian minority in several areas of the country. It will be followed by a comment from BosNewsLife’s founder Stefan J. Bos).
“She should be stoned and burned to death for desecrating the Holy Qu’ran. She is already cursed by Almighty Allah (SWT) with a brain disease. She is an infidel and our beliefs permit us to execute her, as well as take our revenge on her community. Unless of course, she admits her mistake and embraces Islam. Then maybe we can reduce her sentence. Until then, such acts of coming together and rising up for the sake of Allah (SWT) and his only Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are inspiring and must be encouraged, for the honor of all Muslims. If they don’t like our reaction, go live somewhere else! This is our land. ”
Dear Mohammad Ishfaq,
Perhaps Allah, whoever that may be in your opinion, does punish. But God, the Heavenly Father reflected in the image of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ does NOT punish people with brain disease. She awaits a HUGE REWARD! The Bible reports that after Jesus climbed the mountain to speak to the crowds, He said in Bible verse Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Yes this girl may be weak, and not important in your eyes, and the eyes of the world. But Christ already sees her for who she really is, according to the Bible.
The Bible also warns in verse 1 Corinthians 3:19: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”
That’s from the same loving, living God whose Word says in John 3:16: “For God so loved
the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.”
Also, Rimsha has made clear she did not knowingly burn the Koranic book. She cannot read.
Finally, Rimsha and the other Christians are citizens of Pakistan.The original constitution did not discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims. Why should they go somewhere else? Is that the religion of peace?
I wish you to find Christ’s love end blessings,
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
The reasons the so many Muslims hate Christians so much that they would even engage in violence against them if given a chance is twofold. First, this is answered in the Bible in Proverbs 29:10 which teaches “Bloodthristy men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright.” [NIV]. Second, the other reason is that the imams and Mullahs keep filling the minds and hearts of the people in the mosques with hateful and false things about Christians and Chtistianity so these Muslim clerics get the people in the Mosques all worked up against Christians and Christian teachings. This results in Muslim violence against Christians. The imams and mullahs don’t really care that the things they say are untrue and unfounded. Just as long as they keep speaking evil of Christian and Christian doctrines. This is explainedabout such men, as these imams and mullahs, in the Bible. For in Second Peter 2:12 it reads “They speak evil of things they do not understand and will utterly perish in their corruption.” [NKJV]
It also should be noted that in this Bible context the word “perish” does not mean “Loss of being but loss of well being.” As in goiing to ruin by ending up suffering forever in the fires of a terrible place called hell.