8-year-old Christian girl beaten by headmistress for using wrong toilet in Pakistan


An 8-year-old Christian girl was allegedly scolded, beaten and locked in a school bathroom by her headteacher after she used a toilet designated for Muslims, according to Pakistan Today.

The year 3 pupil, Sara Bibi, has been excluded from the government girls' primary school in Samundari, Punjab and her family are now in hiding.

Reports suggest that Bibi was accused by her classmates of having used their toilets. Her headmistress, Zahida Rana, then locked Sara in the bathroom and shouted at her, reportedly saying: "You are a Christian, an infidel. How dare you use the same toilet as Muslim girls?"

Bibi was held in the bathroom for three hours, until the end of the school day.

Senator Sherry Rehman highlighted the incident during a session in the Pakistan Senate which resulted in the chairman of the Senate, Raza Rabbani ordering an inquiry into the incident.

Raja Muhammad Zafarul, leader of the House told the House that he had received an initial report which failed to satisfy him.

A local police official, Muhammed Afzal, said they are yet to receive a complaint but that if a grievance were filed they would take action.

Bibi's family has gone into hiding after receiving several threats that they would be accused of blasphemy.

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) are currently supporting the family and waiting on the government and the school's response to the attack before potentially seeking legal justice.

"We are often asked why Christians are so illiterate with only 7 per cent attaining an adequate level of literacy. Where here you have a prime example of the bullying, harassment and violence young Christians face daily," said Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA. Rather than being an exception, this incident is symptomatic of the wider situation.

"This hatred is top down and throughout educational establishments and leaves Christians demoralised and subjugated.

"This alarming situation is exacerbated with a figure of 700 Christian girls abducted, raped and forced into Islamic marriage per year, the majority of whom are kidnapped after school after joining Muslim girls on a trip out.

"The national curriculum fuels the hatred towards minorities, by caricaturing and demonising minorities. Under such hostility what chance is there for minorities to educate their next generation?" he asked.

BPCA have a petition seeking free and fair education for all.