2 Pakistani Christian women thrashed, humiliated by mob for alleged blasphemy
A Christian mother and her daughter were severely thrashed and beaten by a mob of angry Muslim extremists recently in Pakistan, and then publicly humiliated because the daughter was accused of blasphemy.
The two women, who are temporarily in a safe location, have been forbidden by the town to return to their home. Their other family members are also hiding in fear, according to ANI.
A male member said over the phone, “None of our relatives is ready to let us stay with them. They fear the wrath of the extremists, particularly after the assassination of [liberal politician] Salmaan Taseer,” ANI reported.
Taseer was assassinated because he advocated the repeal or amending the blasphemy law. (See http://theundergroundsite.com/index.php/2011/01/muslim-pakistani-governor-assassinated-for-slamming-blasphemy-law-14988).
The blasphemy law has come to international attention after Asia Bibi was the first Christian woman to be given the death penalty for alleged blasphemy. (See http://theundergroundsite.com/index.php/2010/12/pakistani-official-dismisses-clergy-offer-of-reward-for-bibi%e2%80%99s-death-14750).
For the protection of the Christian parties, all names in the story are fictitious.
The attack was preceded by a family spat between Zahira, a Christian, and her Muslim sister-in-law Amina. The latter wanted Zahira’s 18-month-old daughter to be raised a Muslim, according to The Express Tribune.
The next day the incident seemed to have subsided. However, as soon as Zahira’s husband left home to go to work, Amina went out into the streets and loudly yelled, accusing Zahira of having blasphemed Prophet Mohammed, The Express Tribune said.
Amina’s husband Muhammad Sameer then gathered together a group of men. The mob forced their way into Zahira’s home, and beat up Zahira and her mother. The two women were alone in the house at the time, according to The Express Tribune.
Sameer, the mob leader, is affiliated with the same religious group that Mumtaz Qadri, the notorious assassin of moderate Muslim Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, belongs to, according to ANI. The sect is said to be seeking to make itself more widely known.
Faces turned black
ANI reported that the women’s faces were bruised so badly that their skin turned black. Then, a “lei” of shoes was placed on each woman’s neck, and mother and daughter were forced to ride donkeys around the town. The women denied that they blasphemed, and appealed over and over again for mercy, touching the feet of the men.
Zameer Khan, an NGO worker, managed to finally quell the mob. He asked if any among them had heard Zahira blaspheme, and none of them did. He then convinced the crowd not to go to the police, promising that he would personally investigate the issue, One India News said.
Khan then helped the women reach a safe house. He said, “Apparently there was no blasphemy, just an argument between two women,” One India News reported.