NEW YORK: The 11-year-old girl is paying a high price for her crime in Pakistan — love of Jesus Christ.
But Christians of Pakistan descent in the United States are not willing to take it lying down and will hold a protest rally in front of United Nations Offices in New York Thursday from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. in solidarity with Rimsha Masih, according to press release issued by Pakistani American Christian Association (P.A.C.A.).
The protest is meant to voice condemnation against the arrest of 11-year-old Rimsha Masih under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. She was arrested in capital Islamabad on August 17.
According to the International Christian Concern the girl is suffering from Down’s Syndrome.
Masih was charged with desecrating the Quran but Pakistan media say something more sinister is the real motive. “Some others say she is victim of a conspiracy hatched by local landowners to kick out the Christians from their shanties, given that the area adjacent to posh Islamabad sectors, has become quite expensive,” according to an editorial in Pakistan’s premier Business Recorder newspaper.
Dr. Nazir Bhatti, president of the Pakistan Christian Congress said since the arrest of Rimsha Masih more than 200 Christians fled the neighborhood where she lived after their homes were attacked by Muslim mobs. these Christians are now living as destitute under the open skies in the outskirts of Islamabad.
Rimsah Masih case got a big boost as leader of the third largest political party in Pakistan, Altaf Hussain, issued a call for her freedom. Hussain leads the Muttahida Qaumi Movement that can bring Pakistan’s commercial capital of Karachi to a grinding halt by its strike call.
The M.Q.M. can also draw up to one million people out on the streets of Karachi at a 24-hour notice.
Christians eke out a miserable, slave-like existence in Pakistan. Their women are routinely abducted, raped and forcibly converted. “One out of ten Christians are destined to become sweepers in Pakistan and do the dirtyest job none else is willing to do,” Dr. Bhatti lamented.
“Pakistan is the worst country for Christians in the world,” Bhatti, who is also the editor of the Pakistan Christian Post, said.
Already, a Christian women Aasia Bibi is under arrest for more than two years now on a charge of blasphemy and awaits the hangman’s noose.
Church leaders and laymen, both Protestant and Catholics, from different Christian organizations will participate in the demonstration to demand repeal of the blasphemy law in Pakistan and to provide safety and security to hapless Christians there.
Other minority groups, notably the Hindus and Ahmadis who have been declared non-Muslims against their wish, also face persecution in Pakistan. The South Asian nation is officially an “Islamic republic.”
The protest has been jointly organized by P.A.C.A. in collaboration with the Pak-American Christian Federation (P.A.C.F.), Pakistan Christian Congress (P.C.C.), and Christian Voice of Pakistan (C.V.P.)
These Christian groups have appealed to other U.S. political and social organizations, who may take an interest in Christian solidarity, to attend.