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 Downâ€™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 Rimshaâ€™s arrest has spurred human rights activists in the country and all over the world to spring to action. They are challenging Pakistanâ€™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.
Last May, the U.S. brought to justice the worldâ€™s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden. However, even with the head of the serpent cut off, another seems to grow in its place. With terrorism, there are plenty of evil doers willing to shed blood in the name of God.
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is one such person. He is the founder of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which orchestrated the Mumbai massacre back in 2008 that killed close to 200 civilians. The U.S. has placed a 10 million dollar bounty on his head for information that would lead to his conviction and prosecution.
In reply to the bounty on his head, Saeed remains defiant and mocks the U.S. by openly stating that he is in Lahore and is willing to stand trial in an American court.
A two million dollar reward is also up for grabs for anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the deputy leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, who also happens to be Saeedâ€™s brother-in-law.
Mark Toner, the spokesman for the State Department announced that the reward money is for information that can provide probable cause for an arrest and conviction, not Saeedâ€™s whereabouts. Toner stressed that Saeedâ€™s location is common knowledge as he has continuously provided press conferences through the Pakistani media.
In 2008, 10 heavily armed men took part in an assault in Mumbai, India, that claimed the lives of over 170 people, six of whom were Americans. Only one of the attackers was apprehended alive, and he named Saeed as the orchestrator. Saeed was placed under house arrest by Pakistani officials for the attacks but was later released for unspecified reasons. Until someone steps up to claim the reward, Saeed remains a free man who will continue to spew hateful and mocking rhetoric against the U.S. and anything and anyone he perceives as anti-Islamic.
A lawyer has confirmed that Osama Bin Ladenâ€™s three wives and two of his daughters have been detained and charged for illegally crossing Pakistan. The sentence for the women includes a 45 day jail sentence and a fine of 10,000 rupees each. They have been in custody ever since a U.S. Navy Seal team killed Bin Laden last May.
The widows have been held with their children in Islamabad in what has been described as a â€œsub-jail.â€ Two of the wives are from Saudi Arabia while the third and youngest wife is a citizen of Yemen. Upon their release, each woman will be deported back to their country of citizenship and be reunited with their families.
While it is unclear exactly how many children Bin Laden fathered, he is believed to have at least 10 between the three wives. Bin Ladenâ€™s wives and children were scattered across the region, and he would meet up with them during his travels.
After nearly a 10 year man hunt, Bin Laden was finally located and killed by Seal Team 6 back in May of last year. He was originally believed to be taking refuge in a cave along the Afghanistan and Pakistan border. Intelligence eventually pinpointed his location at a compound in Abbottabad.
Osama Bin Laden is believed to have a total of five wives and was living with three of them at the time of the raid. It was reported that there was some bickering among them, especially between his oldest and youngest wife. Some of his close aides were also concerned that his eldest wife was plotting to betray him, though Bin Laden brushed aside any concerns of a double-cross.
Whatever the situation was in the Bin Laden household, all that is certain is that the guy is dead and that leaves one less terrorist for the world to worry about.
Pakistan has vowed not to attend an upcoming conference geared at starting a reconciliation in Afghanistan. The Afghani president has asked the country to reconsider, but the Pakistani cabinet has unanimously voted against the attendance. The conference is to be held in Bonn, Germany. Pakistan has refused to go because of the kill of two-dozen NATO troops last week.
The Afghani president has urged Pakistan to reconsider, citing that the killing is even more reason for the region to start a reconciliation. Pakistan has been a very valuable land supply for the United States armed forces bringing equipment into the country for their troops. Pakistan is known to have accused Afghanistan of harboring Al Quaeda forces while Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of aiding forces against their military.
The US Secretary Of State, French Foreign Minister, British Foreign Secretary and the Russian Foreign Minister are among 65 heads of international organizations that are expected to participate in the conference. Although Pakistan will not be attending the conference, they have stated their support peace in the region. They also support the importance of a Afghanistan establishing peace in their own country.
The Pakistani cabinet has closed all of their supply lines to the region and has requested that the United states vacate the air base of Shamsi. The country would like to maintain their relationship with the country, but they ask for mutual respect for Pakistani sovereignty. The Pakistani cabinet has also been reviewing their cooperation with the ISAF, NATO and the United States.
General James Mattis has ordered that Brig. Gen. Stephen Clarke lead the investigation into the NATO killings. More than a thousand people are expected to attend the conference in Bonn, Germany. German political officials are said to be meeting with Afgan officials Thursday and Friday before the conference starts.
On Sunday a suicide bombing targeted the Iranian National Guard and killed 26 people. The deputy commander of the Guards’ ground force, General Noor Ali Shooshtari, and the Guards’ chief provincial commander, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh, were among at least six officers reported to have been killed.
Iran holds the United States and Britain, responsible for the incident. State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said, “We condemn this act of terrorism and mourn the loss of innocent lives. Reports of alleged US involvement are completely false.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, vows revenge for the attack. Iran’s president has accused Pakistani agents of involvement in a suicide bombing in south-east of the country targeting a group of the elite Revolutionary Guards force. He called on Pakistan to arrest the attackers, who he said had entered Iran from Pakistan.
“We were informed that some security agents in Pakistan are co-operating with the main elements of this terrorist incident,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency. “We regard it as our right to demand these criminals from them,” he said, without elaborating. “We ask the Pakistani government not to delay any longer in the apprehension of the main elements in this terrorist attack.” (BBC)
Actually a Sunni rebel group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, later on in the day. This particular organization has been carrying out attacks on the mainly Shiite Iranian government, since the 1979 formation of the Revolutionary Guard. Jundallah, also known as the Popular Resistance Movement of Iran, says it is fighting against the political and religious oppression of the country’s minority Sunni Muslims.