Rimsha Masih, a young Pakistani girl, has been accused “of burning a textbook used to teach the Koran to small children” (Walsh). Masih, a Christian, represents a minority in her country whom are thought to be targeted by outdated laws such as the one supposedly broken by this girl (Walsh). Masih’s lawyers have argued that the accusation was an attempt to evict her and the rest of the Christians from the local neighborhood (Walsh). The instigator of Masih’s arrest, Muhammad Khalid Chishti, had asked the landlord, prior to the incident, “to evict the Christians from the neighborhood” (Walsh). While many Muslims supported the decision of her arrest, even encouraging the death penalty, many more are appalled at the situation. More than a million people from around the world signed a petition in support of Masih (Walsh). Although there is some disagreement over Masih’s actual age, either 14 or 16, many argue that she is still a minor (Walsh). Furthermore, it is believed that her mental capacities do not equal that of her age. The judge released Masih on bail equivalent to $10,500 and she is awaiting trial (Walsh).
Although many would argue that Masih did not logically commit a crime, crime is defined in relation to laws. According to the article, Masih broke a law and, in the eyes of Pakistan, committed a crime. The real issue here is the ethical nature of such laws. In the U.S., freedom of religion and expression of religion are rights. Therefore, it is easy for us to forget that other countries do not enjoy that same freedom. However, most Americans would agree that a law such as the one that Masih broke is unethical because it violates such human rights. These rights do not exist in Pakistan, though, and Masih is subject to disciplinary action under her country’s laws, whether right or wrong. Countries, such as Pakistan, which rule under one specified religion, have been an ongoing trend in history. As well, they have also created many conflicts in history, including major events such as the Holocaust. Laws which prohibit the public practice or even existence of certain religions are sure to elicit a negative response in the future. Countries like Pakistan which enforce such laws may be in threat of severe protests or revolts in the future. Such revolts could result in revolutions such as those that occurred in the U.S.. However, they could also result in stricter laws and regulations and perhaps violence.
Walsh, Declan. “Girl Is Granted Bail in Pakistan Blasphemy Case”. The New York Times. 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/08/world/asia/girl-is-granted-bail-in-pakistan-blasphemy-case.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&ref=world&adxnnlx=1347044563-D1P86B7BQqqNPdEE/z9Teg