Christians And Muslims Join Forces In Pakistan To Save Nine-Year-Old Boy From Blasphemy Charge
Christians and Muslims in Pakistan worked together to get basphemy charges dropped against a nine-year-old Pakistani Christian boy.
The boy, Izhan and his mother, Shakil, a nurse from Quetta, were accused six days ago of burning pages of the Quran.
The police were called in and the mother and child imprisoned.
This led to protests by local Christian and Muslim leaders and politicians, and the charges quashed.
The political party Jamait Ulema Islam, or Assembly of Islamic Clergy, played a key role in freeing the two Christians from jail.
Asiya Nasir, a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from Quetta, William John Barkat, a member of the Provincial Assembly and Shahzad Kundan, an activist and resident of the area, cooperated to secure justice for the two accused.
According to the Pakistan Christian Post, they were alerted to the case and "sense of horror and terror" in the Christian community. "There was so much sense of insecurity in the Christians until the matter was resolved," the Post reported. "Credit goes to the local leadership of Jamiat Ulema Islam which played a tremendous role."
Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK, a Christian charity dedicated to helping persecuted Christians in Pakistan, said this was not the first time a minor had been charged with a blasphemy offence.
In 1993 a boy, aged 12, was charged under the blasphemy law for a crime he had not committed. In 2011 a 13-year-old Christian girl was accused of blasphemy by her Muslim teacher for misspelling.
Mr Saeed said: "He [Izhan] may have never have even heard the word of blasphemy. Unfortunately, this is the worst example of hatred and intolerance against Christians and treatment towards them in Pakistan.
"The Government of Pakistan must look into such cases and take appropriate steps to bring necessary changes to stop the ongoing misuse of this law.
"The international community has continuously expressed its concern and called for amendments."