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Prayer leader accuses Christian girl of â€˜conspiracyâ€™
From The Pakistan Daily Times and Asia News
ISLAMABAD: A cleric who handed over a young Christian girl to police on blasphemy charges after she burned papers containing Quranic verses said on Friday what she did was a “conspiracy” to insult Muslims.
Hafiz Muhammed Khalid Chishti, the prayer leader of the mosque in the Islamabad suburb of Mehrabad, insisted he had saved the girl, Rimsha, from mob violence by handing her to police but said the incident arose because Muslims had not stopped local Christians’ “anti-Islam activities” earlier.
Chishti insisted she was fully aware of what she was doing. “The girl who burnt the Quran has no mental illness and is a normal girl,” Chishti said. “She did it knowingly, this is a conspiracy and not a mistake. She confessed what she did.”
Chishti claimed the local Christian community had previously caused antagonism by playing music in services at their makeshift church during Muslim prayer time and said burning the pages was deliberate. “They committed this crime to insult us further. This happened because we did not stop their anti-Islam activities before,” he said.
“Last Christmas, they played musical instruments and there was vulgarity in the streets during our prayers time. I warned them but they did not stop.”
During his sermon at Friday prayers Chishti told worshippers it was “time for Muslims to wake up” and protect the holy Quran.
Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad-Rawalpindi has launched a call: "it is time for the entire Christian community to unite and string around the child. Sunday - adds the prelate - our voices will be heard in support thereof." Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) has appointed parliamentarian Tahir Naveed Chaudhry lawyer to Rimsha. He assures us that "we will defend the rights of the oppressed" However, sources say that the APMA lawyer was not allowed meet the child in prison. Now the goal is to get her out of jail and put it in a safe place, since the vast majority of blasphemy deaths are the result of extra-judicial killings, even in prison under the gaze of guards
Meanwhile, hundreds of Christian families forced to flee in fear of extremist attacks, accuse the government of neglect and disinterest, despite government proclamations in recent days that ensured comfort and help. Islamabad has announced the distribution of food aid, but so far "has not done anything," says a witness. There is a climate of "insecurity" among the people and they do not "trust to return to their homes."