While spirituality is generally a good thing, when belief in God turns into religious fanaticism, it creates nothing but chaos and gives religion a bad name. This is what is happening right now in Pakistan with a young girl who is being imprisoned and faces a possible death sentence for burning pages out of the Koran.
The girl in question is 11-year-old Rimsha Masih, and there are reports that she has Down’s syndrome. The incident occurred August 16th when a neighbor reported that he saw Rimsha set a page of the Noorani Qaida on fire and placed the burnt remains in a plastic bag. The Noorani Qaida is an Arabic learning guide used by children.
Muslim fundamentalists dispute the reports that Rimsha is only 11 and suffers from downs syndrome. Some claim that she is 16, mentally sound and was completely aware of what she was doing when she lighted up the Noorani Qaida.
After the news spread, Rimsha and her mother was taken into custody where they currently sit in a prison cell. However, her arrest was not enough for some of the locals in her city. They wanted to dish out justice themselves. Reports have already spread of Christians, a minority in the country, being mobbed and having their homes vandalized. It is also believed that as many as 600 Christians were forced to flee their homes near Islamabad for fear of being targeted.
News of Rimsha’s arrest has spurred human rights activists in the country and all over the world to spring to action. They are challenging Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law, which states that anyone who desecrates the Koran or speaks ill of the Prophet Mohammed is a crime punishable by imprisonment and even death. The law does very little to protect Christians and other religious minorities. They are left to fend for themselves from vigilantes and violent extremists.