Iman frames little girl


ISLAMABAD – A Muslim cleric is accused of stashing pages of a Qur’an in a Christian girl’s bag to make it seem like she burned the Islamic holy book, a surprising twist in a case that caused an international outcry over the country’s strict blasphemy laws.

Pakistani police arrested Khalid Chishti late Saturday after a member of the cleric’s mosque accused the imam of planting evidence as a way to push the Christians out of the neighbourhood. Chishti denied the charges Sunday while being led to court in shackles, wearing a white blindfold.

“I have not done anything wrong. This is all fabrication,” he defiantly told reporters.

The imam’s arrest could release the girl, who supporters say is mentally handicapped, out of prison, where she faces a life sentence if convicted of charges she desecrated the Qur’an. A bail hearing is scheduled for Monday.

But Christians who fled the neighbourhood when the girl was arrested worry about the use of laws that critics say are often abused to settle scores or target minorities.

“We all are suffering,” said Somera Ashraf, a Christian woman from the girl’s neighbourhood.

Ashraf and her family fled the neighbourhood with many other Christians when the blasphemy allegations came to light, fearing retribution. She only recently returned but still doesn’t feel safe.

Written By: Rebecca Santana
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  1. Ah!  The TRRRRrrooo peace and good-will religious groups have for their fellow man!

  2. Those quotes from the locals speak of what I call the ‘majority-persecution-complex’. A severe cognitive dissonance where the majority occupies the spot of persecutor, while behaving and talking like the persecuted party when confronted with facts. 

    Any attempt at pointing out the situation as it is in reality will result in verbal or physical retaliation in order to avoid looking in the mirror and seeing the monster smiling back. 

  3. When did the religious stop surprising me? Imam frames teenage girl as blasphemer? Yeah, sure. I buy that. *Sighs*

  4. The only positive thing I can take out of this story, is that the religiot was caught, and then prosecuted by other religiots. Remarkable, perhaps people can develop a moral compass inspite of their religious indoctrination.

  5. Do you think it will raise their collective consciousness – or at least some individuals – to the absurdity of the law or at least the way in which it is implemented (i.e. that it is used as a proxy for settling vendettas)?

  6. Spent the afternoon skimming though Pakistani and Indian reports on the framing,and 3 bad things come to mind:

    – The Imam who allegedly tore some pages from his mosque’s Koran to put them in the bag of burnt paper someone had taken from the little girl has been charged with… Blasphemy (what else) instead of false incrimination. Seems fun until you realize they aren’t going to repeal the stinking blasphemy law anytime soon.

    – He’s said to have told witnesses “this is the only way to force the Christians out of the neighborhood”. The Xtian houses were then looted by a mob, and there are suggestions that the Muslim neighbors wanted to get their hands on the  Christian’s real estate. Who led the mob? Who finances this mosque? Any religiously connected real estate types connected? Would be nice to find out, in poor neighborhood with a housing crisis, such religion and pogroms could be useful to some… Note that someone (the same Imam ? unable to tell) asked the court to hand the little girl over so she could be burned alive and uttered death threats in court yet remains free.

    – Astonishingly (not really) seemingly liberal Pakistani and Indian papers are reporting things differently from what seems to be conservative or cowardly outlets. The former say the Imam added Koran pages to a bag that only contained nondescript charred paper but the latter are trying to suggest he added them to a bag that already contained burn excerpts from the Koran , implying both are guilty of desecrating printed material of the holy kind.

    -Therefore it might be naive to expect the court to release the little girl at tomorrow’ bail hearing… Most unfortunately. The thing could drag for quite a while and end up with lynching violence against the Christians.

    Whatever the case may be  it is still time and emergent to sign the girl’s mother’s petition on that was cited here 3 days ago if you haven’t yet.


    It’s actually more important now that the religious loonies are getting busted, but bound to fight back and the government might be tempted to act “fair minded” by punishing both the girl and the criminal Imam unless it’s under heavy pressure.

  7. Regardless of whether the girl actually burned the Koran or some deranged Imam set the whole thing up to rile up his fellow Muslims against their Christian neighbors, the whole thing stinks.  Either way it is yet another piece of evidence showing how incredibly intolerant and violent the “religion of peace” is towards non-Muslims.  As abhorrent and extremist as I find the religious right Christian movement in the United States, in relative terms they would probably be considered either moderate or progressive in the Muslim world.

  8. The biggest worry is that the Imam’s followers (i.e. the vast majority of people in the area) are backing him all the way…

    Comments (taken from the National Post article) like “Pour petrol and burn these Christians,” and “The cleric of the mosque has been oppressed. He is not at fault. He is innocent.” don’t fill me with much confidence that justice will be done, or that innocent people are not going to get torched.

    So will the authorities back down and permit the poor girl to be murdered for nothing, or will they show some backbone, prosecute the Imam and probably cause thousands of non-Muslims to suffer instead in the ensuing riots?

    Not an easy call, that one – and I don’t envy those having to make it…

  9. The dastardliness of this deed should not detract from the fact that all it takes to be slaughtered in that godunforsaken country is a few torn pages of religious fan-fiction in your bag.

  10. How predictable, literally…

    When this first became news I posted exactly the same thing on WEIT blog, that this was a frame job to  get rid off Christians from that area.

  11. Bit of a misleading headline* from the former clear-thinking oasis. “Imam frames little girl”.
    Is space at a  premium on the new site? The Vancouver Sun’s “Imam accused of planting evidence in Pakistan Qur’an burning case against Christian girl” would seem to be more accurate, although it does describe the girl allegedly framed for the vandalism of the book as a Christian, and as we all know, there’s no such thing as a Christian child.

    The article goes from “….a member of the cleric’s mosque [not identified] accused the imam of planting evidence as a way to push the Christians out of the neighbourhood”,

    to “Police said Chishti planted pages of a Qur’an in a shopping bag containing burned papers and ash that had been carried by the Christian girl.”

    It might just be an error in translation, but it sounds like the Islamabad police have already made up their minds about this guy’s guilt, based entirely on the say-so of the unnamed mosque member.

    At this stage, with Khalid Chisti blindfolded and handcuffed, I’m no more inclined to proffer condemnation than I was when it was Rimsha Masih in the dock.

    It could be that this new development is just the Pakistan government’s response to international outrage over a young girl of questionable mental capability being placed in such a position. They find a scapegoat and someone willing to denounce him, have a quick showtrial, disappear him, and the whole thing goes away.

    Or Imam Chishti could be guilty as sin.

    Or it could be…well, it could be any number of things.

    Point is that prejudging someone and pronouncing them “villain” before all the evidence is presented, just because they happen to be wearing or not wearing a clerical collar, should be left to those on the other side of the religion/atheism divide.

    * In more ways than one (David must be livid).

  12. That the followers of a lying brigand can also be devious and congenital liars is no surprise, that we are expected to ‘respect’ and ‘tolerate’ their sincerely held beliefs is.  71 chapters of the quran’s 114 are abrogated and promote jihad and the destruction of non -believers and yet the spokesmen of this vile and antihuman system of belief say it is peaceful!!!

  13. Yet the retarded girl is still in jail. The supposed motive of this cleric was to stir up trouble with Christians.  It is not a crime to bring disgrace on Islam?

  14. Python could not have written this to be any more ludicrous.

    “She turned me into a newt…I got better!”

  15. Is anyone aware of any comments on this incident from the MCB, MPAC etc because I can’t find any? I suspect its the usual deafening silence from the leaders of the UK’s muslim community.

  16. Latest: little girl is still  in jail, bail hearing deferred for lawyer’s strike… And so it will go on, and on.

  17. Every time this story has been published the reporters seem to keep focusing on the fact that the girl is only 11 years of age and mentally handicapped as if to say that if the girl was instead a grown woman with no mental problems arresting her would then somehow be acceptable.  Arresting someone for ‘blasphemy’ is never acceptable.  These absurd blasphemy laws shouldn’t exist in the first place. 

    As long as people don’t insight violence they should be free to say whatever they want to, draw whatever they want and to desecrate the quran, bible or any other book they wish.  If someone else gets upset or offended that’s just too bad.  These people simply need to grow a thicker skin.

    This ongoing story has been an excellent opportunity for the media to highlight the absurdity of the blasphemy laws but so far I have not heard any news station speak out against them.

    Blasphemy is a victimless crime!

  18. How scared must this little girl be. I could not imagine what her parents must be going through. Aggghhhh this makes me so mad and the lack of common sense.

  19. the important thing to remember is, if you’re in pakistan and want to make an innocent persons life a misery, or maybe have them brutally killed by an angry mob, it really is that simple.

    the only reason this imam got caught was because he told people what he was doing. makes you wonder how many times it’s been used already to get rid of people.

    on the plus side, to date i’ve not heard anyone claim “this has nothing to do with religion”

  20. Sharia law should be applied to him. It boggles the mind how some people literally believe in primordial, nonsensical texts.

  21. Clerical jobs available in Pakistan,
    humane ,non evil,non ignorant people need not apply…
    (Burning bushes and uzis supplied at place of interview)

  22. If this barbarism is true? Itjust goes to show the sociopathic mental illness that seems to be a standard Islamic inculcation.
    As Jeff Vader has pointed out; the Muslim community seems to acquiesce when such filthy acts are committed.

  23. This is another example of handicappisum or prejudice against people with disabilities.  The Iman target who he thought was most vulnerable.

    This is suppose to be a rational discussion, the handicappisum toword people with psyhatric disabilities and intellectual disabilities is also manifested in the comments.   Religious people and non believers are all well represented in the disabled population.  Please watch who you bad mouth or bad write.

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