Why the U.S. Must Oppose Blasphemy Laws
Today’s New York Times and Washington Post shed rare light on the latest gross injustices that result from Pakistan’s blasphemy law. They report on yesterday’s arrest of Rimsha Masih, an 11- or 12-year-old Christian girl, who, according to some accounts, suffers from Down’s syndrome. Rimsha has been jailed for allegedly burning pages of the Koran while sweeping a facility in her slum neighborhood near the capital of Islamabad.
Should the case go to trial, the girl now faces a virtually certain sentence of life imprisonment, since under the sharia court, her testimony is worth a quarter of a Muslim male’s and there is only oral evidence in this case. Should she be released back to her community, she will face the wrath of the mob, incited by mosque leaders who are quoted by the Post as condemning her to death by burning. Meanwhile, her mother has been incarcerated with her, and hundreds of her co-religionists have fled their homes, terrorized by vigilantes.
Christians, Ahmadiyyas, Shiites, and Hindu have been disproportionately targeted under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. But moderate and reformist Muslims from the country’s Sunni majority have also been victimized by this very bad law.Continue reading at www.nationalreview.com