8 posts categorized “Rimsha Masih”

November 20, 2012

Thank You for Praying! - Rimsha Masih Acquitted on Blasphemy Charges

Good news for Rimsha Masih today as it's being reported by CBN News that she has been acquitted of blasphemy charges after a Muslim cleric accused her of burning the Islamic holy book. In which the  cleric was later accused of fabricating evidence.

Rimsha is reported to have Downs Syndrome and was exonerated for lack of evidence.  All charges were dismissed.

Tribune.com adds additional details about this verdict.

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 3.39.01 PMIHC Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman on Tuesday quashed a First Information Report (FIR) against Rimsha and gave a detailed 15-page judgment declaring the girl innocent. “Being Muslims, we should be extraordinarily careful while levelling such allegations against each other and non-Muslim communities too,” he observed.

Hearing the petition filed by Rimsha seeking cancellation of an FIR against her, the chief justice observed that a prudent man in society would never bother to inquire from anyone – specially a minor girl – what she was carrying in a polythene bag or what she intended to do with it. “Therefore it manifests that the complainant had some ulterior motive to manoeuvre the expulsion of the Christian community from the vicinity. Therefore the mala fide on part of the complainant is apparent from the facts and circumstances of the case,” he stated.

 

Rimsha’s lawyer Akmal Bhatti told reporters after the proceedings that the court had quashed the case and declared his client “innocent”.

Rimsha, believed to be no older than 14, was accused of burning pages from a noorani qaida (elementary religious book with verses of the Holy Quran) — a move that led to global condemnation and concerns about the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan.

 

 

Thank you to all of you who prayed for Rimsha and her family. Please continue your prayers for their safety and rejoice with them for what God has done.

September 27, 2012

Rimsha Case Takes a Surprising Turn

Screen shot 2012-09-27 at 4.58.01 PMPakistan (MNN) ― Pakistani police asked for a time extension twice, but they still couldn't find anything to condemn 14-year-old Rimsha Masih. A judge sent her case to a juvenile court after police failed to prove the girl desecrated the Quran, as a neighbor alleged last month.

Police arrested the Pakistani teenager on August 16 on blasphemy charges, punishable by a lifetime in prison. The young girl was accused of burning a booklet used to learn the basics of the Quran. After an initial court appearance, she was imprisoned and later taken to a secure location for her safety.

What will Rimsha face next? Lindsey Vessey, Open Doors USA Advocacy Director, said it's anyone's guess.

"What's going to happen in this juvenile court is a little up in the air right now," Vessey said. "If the police are saying that they don't have any evidence against her, it's hard to imagine that they can continue pressing her with these charges."

Following Rimsha's initial arrest, angry mobs threatened to burn Christian homes in her neighborhood. Over 600 believers were forced to flee, and Vessey said most are afraid to return. A Pakistani newspaper said an estimated 51 people accused of blasphemy were killed before their respective trials ended. In July, a mentally unstable man was burned alive for allegedly destroying pages of the Quran.

"[Rimsha's] life is very much in danger," stated Vessey, "as well as the Christians who returned to this community."

A Muslim cleric, Imam Khalid Jadoon, was arrested earlier this month for framing Rimsha. In their investigation, police found a lot of evidence against the imam.

"Reportedly, his whole intent was to drive Christians out of her neighborhood," explained Vessey. "Some of them have returned, but most of them are too scared to [come back]."

Vessey isn't sure if Rimsha's acquittal will hold any benefit for Pakistani believers. But it could boost their moral.

"To have a positive outcome: maybe at minimal it would be an encouragement to them. So that's something we could definitely pray for."

Pray for the protection of believers in Pakistan, and pray that Rimsha is acquitted.

You can help by contacting Pakistan's Ambassador to the U.S., Sherry Rehman. Ask for protection and justice for Rimsha and her family. Visit the Open Doors Advocacy site to take action.

Source: Mission Network News, Open Doors


September 26, 2012

Please Continue to Pray for Rimsha Masih and Her Family

A number of reports have been released in the last few days concerning Rimsha Masih's case, even though she is currently out of jail.

I wanted to remind you that even though she's out of jail for her supposed "crime of blasphemy" here case still isn't officially over.  According to a news report on the Tribune.com website"Officials investigating Rimsha Masih’s blasphemy case have until September 28 to respond to a petition seeking the annulment of the FIR against her."

Will you please join us in praying for the Lord's perfect will to be done and for this nightmare to end for this family.

Related News:

Tribune.com Rimsha's case: Investigators put on notice as family seeks annulment of FIR

IHC Seeks record of Rimsha case

Rimsha's plight

 


September 11, 2012

Persecution Podcast 131: Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, and Central Asia

Screen shot 2012-09-11 at 3.35.46 PMLast Friday I had half of a day disruption of my internet service so I wasn't able to share with you on Friday about our weekly Persecution Podcast.

Today, I wanted to make sure that you know that we posted Persecution Podcast #131 in which David and Dory shared prayer requests from Central Asia, Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan.

The good news is that since the posting of our podcast, God has already answered our prayers.  Rimsha Masih, the teen with Down Syndrome, has been released from prison on bail!

Please keep praying for her and her family because they are under threat.  Pray for the Lord's protection and provision.

In Indonesia please pray for two evangelists who recently had charges dropped against them for being Christians and sharing Christ with a Muslim woman.  Even though their case was dismissed, there is always a possibility that the police can bring new charges against them. 

Iran recently suffered a massive earthquake in which hundreds were killed and thousands displaced.  Several Christians in Iran reported they were assisting the injured and displaced. Iranian officials first rejected international assistance before being overwhelmed with the needs. Pray for families who have lost loved ones and for the recovery of the homes, schools and businesses in the affected area.

Lastly, in Central Asia, Christians with Muslim backgrounds need your prayers.  These believers were expelled from their families and threatened with death. Children in this country are especially subject to extreme persecution. They are ridiculed and threatened at school during anti-Christian propaganda events organized by local authorities.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST.

 


September 10, 2012

Down Syndrome Girl, Rimsha Masih, Released from Prison!

Last week we shared with you that bail had been set for Rimsha Masih and over the weekend we were happy to hear that she was indeed released from Prison.  Please continue your prayers for her and her family.

The following is a short news package from CBN News.

 


September 7, 2012

Pakistan Christian Cabinet Member Urges Re-think of Blasphemy Law

Pakistan (MNN) ― What began as a blasphemy accusation has led to scandal and a call to re-evaluate Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Todd Nettleton, spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs USA, says the blasphemy law is often misused by Muslims to settle personal scores with Christians. Even unproven allegations can prompt a violent public response.

"Whatever it is that you wanted to get even with them for, you can take care of that while they're locked away in prison", says Nettleton. "Even if eventually the court says, 'There was no evidence of this. This is a ridiculous charge; let this person go.' They've still lost four to seven years of their lives fighting the charges and waiting for the legal process to go forward."

Nettleton goes on to say, "The level of what it takes to get the charges filed is so small, and it really ruins somebody's life." Gospel work has been negatively impacted, too. He explains that "if you say anything negative about Mohammed, that's blasphemy. Obviously as we share the Gospel, we want to do that out of a sense of love and out of a sense of respect. But at some point, when you compare two religions, you're probably going to say something negative about Islam and about Mohammed and about the Quran. All of those things would fall under the blasphemy laws there in Pakistan."

In other words, the interpretation is loose, and yet the penalties are harsh. Convictions carry the potential of a life sentence for desecrating the Quran and the death penalty for insulting the prophet Muhammad.

The case that started the ball rolling involves a young girl, Rimsha Masih, who is developmentally disabled. She is in custody nearly three weeks after she was accused of burning pages containing verses from the Quran.

In an odd twist to the case, Nettleton says, "The mullah at her local mosque: apparently now there are witnesses who say he put the burned pages in her stuff and then took the stuff to the police and said, 'This is Rimsha's stuff.' She's been burning pages from a Quran'."

Investigating authorities found the motive revealing. "Apparently now, it was all a set up by him to try to get the Christians out of the village or create animosity by the Muslims toward the Christians. So that evidence coming on top of the questions that were already there because of her age, or because of her mental capacity, is really giving some momentum to this idea of 'this is really a black eye for the entire country to have these laws on the books.'" With that evidence, the cleric was arrested for tampering with evidence. Activists hope to use the case to stop the abuse of Pakistan's strict laws on insulting Islam.

As a result of the turn of events, activists hope Masih could be released as early as tomorrow. According to Open Doors News, Rimsha Masih is likely to be cleared of the blasphemy charge against her, but Nettleton says the family's life is changed. "Even if she is released on Friday and is returned to her family, there is still an issue of safety for them that we can pray about and pray for."

Police put the girl in jail both to placate angry demonstrators and to keep Rimsha safe from attack. Her parents likewise were removed to protective custody, while hundreds of Christian neighbors fled to the relative safety of more distant Islamabad sectors.

Paul Bhatti is the Minister for National Harmony, and the only Christian on the cabinet. He is calling for a re-evaluation of how the law is enforced. His brother and predecessor Shahbaz Bhatti was gunned down last year for speaking out against the blasphemy law.

However, Nettleton says the circumstances now are different. "The fact that someone has suggested reforming the blasphemy law is not a new thing. What will be interesting to see--especially in light of this mullah being arrested--is if this gains any traction within the legislative process there and if there is really some practical change for the Christians in Pakistan."

Pray for justice, as it relates to the blasphemy law. This is a unique opening to change laws that are unfair. "Pray for the Christian community there, regardless of what happens with the government or what happens with the blasphemy laws, that they will continue to focus on Christ and be a witness for Him in spite of whatever laws are on the books or whatever persecution comes their way."

Source: Mission Network News


September 4, 2012

Pakistan: Christian Girl Charged

A young, physically-handicapped Christian girl accused of blasphemy waits to hear her fate in a high security prison in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Rimsha Masih, a poor girl from a low caste family of Christian sweepers, was accused of burning pages containing Quranic verses. When rumors of the incident spread, hundreds of Muslim protestors surrounded a police station on Aug. 16 and demanded Rimsha face prosecution under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws.

Under the laws, Rimsha could receive a death sentence if found guilty of insulting Islam. However, because of her age, the case was handed over to the juvenile courts, which are often more lenient. According to her lawyer, Rimsha could be granted bail at her next hearing. A hearing is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

The police First Information Report listed Rimsha’s age as 11, but a medical board said she was 14 and determined Rimsha has a degree of mental disability.

There are conflicting claims as to how Rimsha found the papers, but when a Muslim neighbor accused her of desecrating the Quranic verses, more than 300 Muslims entered the predominantly Christian neighborhood in Islamabad, where the family lived. They surrounded Rimsha’s house and threatened to kill her. A VOM contact reported that they verbally abused Christians while chanting, “Kill kafirs!” (meaning, “Kill unbelievers!”).

The prayer leader of a nearby mosque stated that he saved Rimsha by leading her out of the mob and handing her and two family members over to local police. The mob then rioted around the police station. Fearing the mob would harm the family or destroy the police station, police charged Rimsha with blasphemy. Police held her two family members in protective custody before releasing them three days later.

Hundreds of Christians fled the neighborhood and sought safety in other areas of the city, including a tent city on some forested land. A makeshift church where the displaced held a church service last weekend was later burned down, and the Christians were forced off the land. About 50 families have since returned to the neighborhood, but shopkeepers are refusing to sell them food.

VOM staff in Pakistan are closely monitoring the situation.

Sources: VOM contacts, PakTribune, New York Times

Posted: August 29, 2012
Updated: September 4, 2012

August 30, 2012

Christians Rally in Prayer for Rimsha Masih 14-Year-Old Down Syndrome Teen Accused of Blasphemy

A few days ago we shared with you an update about Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Pakistani teen with Down Syndrome and we shared with you that her lawyer was going to court with her today.  VOM contacts in Pakistan have reported back to us that the court hearing has now been changed to Saturday.  Please pray for Rimsha and her parents during this very difficult time.

Many on our VOM Facebook page have offered up prayers on her behalf.  You can join in adding your prayer here.

Fox News has also picked up this important story and you can read that article here.