September 12 2012
The Real War on Women: Pakistani Christian Youth Released on Bail
Americans have been hearing a lot about a supposed “War on Women,” which has become a favorite tactic for demonizing anyone who questions endlessly growing government.
As we’ve written at IWF consistently, Liberty Is No War on Women. Yet elsewhere around the world, women really are under-siege and being denied basic rights. Their stories deserve to be told.
Consider what’s happened to 14-year-old Pakistani Rimsha Masih, a Christian,who was arrested for allegedly burning pages from the Koran. This week, she was released on bail because a local cleric has been detained under suspicion of planting the burned pages, in order to scare Christians from the area.
The Chicago Tribune reports that despite the attention Masih’s case, which has received special attention given her young age and reports she has the mental capacity of a 7 year old, Pakistanis continue to support blasphemy laws. Though Masih has been released from prison on bail, her case has not yet been dismissed. While one might assume that her release from jail is good news, she may be in greater danger today, which is why she is now in an unreleased location and her family has been taken into protective custody.
An estimated 52 people have been killed after being accused of blasphemy since 1990, and Masih is at risk of being lynched if found not guilty. Charges of blasphemy often result in deadly riots against minority communities.
The U.S. and Pakistan’s relations are already tumultuous. The House of Representatives has sought to remove foreign aid from the nation, and The American Red Cross recently removed most of its foreign aid from the country after the beheading of a British doctor following allegedly by Taliban insurgents.
It’s important that Americans continue to speak out in favor of protecting basic human rights for women and men everywhere.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Masah and her family as she fights for justice and safety.