Pakistani Christian Girl With Special Needs Arrested For Allegedly Burning Islamic Text


A Christian girl with Down's syndrome has been arrested and charged with blasphemy in Pakistan for allegedly burning pages containing Islamic text, the BBC and Agence France-Presse report.

According to the Express Tribune, an English language newspaper in Pakistan, the 11-year-old was beaten last week after locals in her village near Islamabad saw her burning pages inscribed with Islamic text.

Dawn, another English-language Pakistani paper, notes that other reports indicate that she "was burning used papers collected from the garbage for cooking."

If found guilty, the young girl could face the death penalty, according to AFP.

Her family and other Christians in the area reportedly fled out of fear following the incident, according to the Express Tribune and Dawn, but not before people in the village brought the girl and her mother to local authorities.

AFP reports that the Women's Action Forum, a women's rights organization in Pakistan, has called on authorities to release the young girl.

"WAF is outraged at the total inhumanity of the men who lodged the First Information Report (FIR) in the police," Tahira Abdullah, a spokeswoman for WAF said.

This is one of the latest high-profile incidents to draw attention to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, which state that people who are convicted of insulting the Quran or Islam's prophet can face the death penalty.

In 2010, a Christian mother of five was sentenced to death for blasphemy.

And last month, a man accused of desecrating the Quran was dragged from a police station in Pakistan and beaten to death before his body was set on fire.

Salman Taseer, a Pakistani governor, was assassinated by a bodyguard in 2011 because of his reported opposition to the laws.

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