Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy: ‘I’m scared’
Rimsha Masih, the Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy, has spoken for the first time of her frightening ordeal after neighbours accused her of burning pages filled with religious script.
By Rob Crilly, Islamabad
5:21PM BST 11 Sep 2012
She spent three weeks locked in a high-security prison before being freed on bail at the weekend.
In an interview with CNN she said she was delighted to be reunited with her family but said she feared for her life.
“I’m scared,” she said by telephone. “I’m afraid of anyone who might kill us.” She left prison in an armoured car on Saturday before being transferred to a helicopter and taken to a secret location.
Blasphemy cases arouse great passion in Pakistan, where the overwhelming majority is Muslim.
Two high-profile politicians were shot dead last year after taking up the case of a Christian mother who was sentenced to death.
Even judges have been assassinated for appearing too lenient.
In the brief interview Rimsha denied ever burning pages from the Koran but declined to discuss details of exactly what happened on August 16 at her home in a Christian corner of Mehrabad, just outside the capital Islamabad.
She was detained by police partly for her own safety as hundreds of residents surrounded the girl after news of the alleged desecration spread.
However, a cleric has since been arrested on suspicion of planting pages of the Koran in ashes from her house.
One theory is that Rimsha, who is 14 according to a medical report, was the victim of a Muslim plot to oust Christian families from their land.
Another is that she may have refused the advances of a neighbour.
Rimsha’s father, who works as a house painter for a few pounds a day, said no one in his family would dare dishonour the Koran.
“We respect the Koran just like we respect the Bible,” said Mizrak Masih.
“We couldn’t imagine committing blasphemy let alone doing it. Our children would never do this either.”