Imam Arrested For Framing Illiterate Pakistani Girl For ‘Blasphemy’

ChishtiYesterday I wrote about an illiterate young Pakistani girl imprisoned for allegedly burning pages of a Qur'an to begin a cooking fire, and thereby committing blasphemy — in Pakistan, a crime punishable by life imprisonment. (Or, should "justice" be sought extrajudicially, being burned alive.) Late last night, BBC World reported that new evidence shows the girl didn't burn any pages of Qur'an at all. Rather, she was framed by a local Imam.

From the BBC:

Imam [Khalid] Chishti appeared in the Islamabad court with a white blindfold and shackled hands.

There was a large police presence as he was ushered into the building.

"The imam was arrested after his deputy Maulvi Zubair and two
others told a magistrate he added pages from the Koran to the burnt
pages brought to him by a witness," an investigator Munir Hussain
Jaffri said.

Zubair and others reportedly told Imam Chishti not to tamper with the evidence, but Imam Chishti told them doing so was the only way to rid their neighborhood of Christians.

Imam Chishti was arrested yesterday. He is now facing blasphemy charges. The girl, whose name is Rimsha, presumably will not, though she hasn't yet been released from police custody. Perhaps that's for the best. Until the arrest of Imam Chishti, several of her Muslim neighbors were calling for Rimsha's death. It could be that Pakistani authorities will wish to allow the angrier elements of the Islamic public to digest the fact that it was one of their shamans, and not a prophet-denying Christian, who desecrated their holy book.

For the moment, Rimsha's family remains in protective custody.


  1. PAUL B. says

    Does any “thinking person” question the damage organized religion has done in the past and continues to do today?

  2. StarGem says

    Religion is to hate as flour is to baking.
    Humanity must rid itself of this outmoded insanity or continue to suffer its inevitable consequences.

  3. Alejo says

    I glad that things are winding up this way but I am still doubtful about the girl’s safety and the consequences that this Imam would be subjected to. Anyway, for the girl, living there wouldn’t neither be same nor easy.

  4. Socal says

    That he imagines a god who would be pleased with his behavior is the insanity of religious fundamentalism. It’s the same the world over.

  5. Paul R says

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Subjecting an imam to strict discipline would be almost unheard of, but he did burn the Koran and frame an innocent child. Guess it will depend on his connections, like pretty much everything in life the world over.

    He certainly looks like a crazy creep.

  6. says

    I agree with so many of you. Organized religion is used to control people and destroy lives. Of all the scourges to plague earth, organized religion sits right at the top of the list.

  7. RWG says

    Note to self: do not visit any country with a dominate Muslim culture. Also, avoid flying close to any country with a dominate Muslim culture, in case the plane gets in trouble and has to make an emergency landing.

  8. unruly says

    F’ off. you xenophobe. Did you really write “one of their shamans, and not a prophet-denying Christian…”? That’s a good little Euro-centric/Westerner view and attitude. You wrote elsewhere that you’re an evangelical atheist — well, here’s a clue, don’t frame one religion better than the other. They’re all bogus to me but that reads just like a Bill Donohue quote.

  9. Alejo says

    @Unruly: Yes, if you go by that then certainly almost all (but still not all) religions have played a major role in spreading hate. Here, Islam and Christianity seems to be fighting with each other whereas once it was Jewish vs Christian. I think it’s basically the all these three Abrahamic religion which are the root problem of religion based hatred otherwise there are religions like Buddhism, Taoism, etc which certainly exist for peace and not for expansion by forced conversion.

  10. Paul R says

    @RWG: Egypt, Indonesia, and Turkey have been great places to visit. I wouldn’t go to Egypt today, but I’d still go to the other two because they’re more secular.

  11. We are Here says

    Atheism is a prejudice, just like homophobia.

    “Does any “thinking person” question the damage organized religion has done in the past and continues to do today?”

    Homophobes say the same thing about homosexuality.

    “Religion is to hate as flour is to baking.
    Humanity must rid itself of this outmoded insanity or continue to suffer its inevitable consequences.”

    Homophobes say the same basic thing about homosexuality.

    And why did these two bigots say these things, judging and condemning most of humanity? Because of the actions of one person of faith.

    “religions have played a major role in spreading hate”

    Nice lie. Homophobes do the same thing. See, liar, hate is spread by people, for all kinds of things, including as your post shows, atheism. But just as homophobes blame homosexuality for spreading disease, atheists, being bigots, blame religion for spreading hate.

    The sole purpose of atheism is to feed the ego of its followers by denigrating and reviling everyone else in the world, and while homophobes articulate hate and contempt for 10% of humanity, atheists express hate and contempt for 90% of humanity. Guess who is worse.

  12. We are Here says

    “Religion is the greatest tragedy in human history”

    Homophobes say the same thing about homosexuality. Congrats Steve, you’ve learned what Fred Phelps has sought to teach you – malign other people to make yourself feel good at their expense.

    “do not visit any country with a dominate Muslim culture.”

    Yeah, homophobes make pretty much the same argument. And they have their own version of this next one too: “Organized religion is used to control people and destroy lives. Of all the scourges to plague earth, organized religion sits right at the top of the list.”

    See, the moment you argue that a diverse collections of people and their experiences is a scourge, a threat, the source of all wrong . . .

    you are a bigot.

  13. Brandon K. Thorp says


    Sorry — what was inaccurate about my sentence? Do you think it’s unreasonable to suppose that people who were, mere days ago, clamoring to burn a little girl alive might need a brief cooling-off period before the girl’s safe to roam among them?

    I think you’re displeased by my use of the word “shaman.” Please know that I regularly refer that way to all kinds of clergy. It’s not meant as an insult. It’s meant to be accurate. “Shaman” is the best word I know for someone who communes with invisible spirits.

    I do try to write kindly about members of all religions, save when those members are using their faiths to justify the persecution of others. When, however, Christians hurt Muslims in the name of “God,” I don’t feel bad about writing unkindly of those particular Christians’ religious practices. And ditto when Muslims hurt Christians in the name of “God,” or when anybody hurts anybody in the name of some militant creed. The offenders’ version of whichever creed it might be is obviously contemptible, and unworthy of editorial respect.

    Those Muslims/Christians/Jews/Hindus/humanists/Republicans/Democrats/Whigs whathaveyou who don’t see their creeds as a warrant to harm or denigrate others have more in common with each other than they do with their fellow Muslims/Christians/Jews/etc. who feel otherwise, and I would never insult their personal versions of their particular creeds. That would be rude.

    Thanks for reading,
    – BKT

  14. Steve says

    @We Are Here

    You are a moron. First off, religion is a lie. Nothing about it is true. Second, it’s a choice. People are indoctrinated into religion, but they can leave. There is nothing innate about it. It’s just an opinion about the world

  15. atomic says

    “We are here” wrote:

    “Homophobes say the same thing about homosexuality. Congrats Steve, you’ve learned what Fred Phelps has sought to teach you – malign other people to make yourself feel good at their expense.”

    You have committed the logical fallacy of false equivalence. Just because opposing groups have similar criticisms about each other, does not necessarily mean both positions are equally valid, or equally intolerant. Specifically, refusing to accept the validity of the bigotry and hate of others is not in itself a form of bigotry. Conversely, accepting every viewpoint as having legitimacy does not elevate you above criticism–this is a mistake that many so-called “progressives” make. They will hate you no matter how accepting you try to be.

    What matters to me, as Richard Dawkins so often puts it, is the evidence. We derive our conclusions about the world around us, and we derive our sense of morality from logical, evidence-based thinking. A cursory glance at the various world religions immediately shows that they cannot all be correct. Why then should a rational person exhibit deference to someone for holding an incorrect and untestable (hence unfalsifiable) set of beliefs? That strikes me as patronizing at best and outright dangerous at worst.

    If you haven’t fully grasped the meaning of what I have said, I suggest you ask the illiterate Christian girl who, through no fault of her own, is being persecuted. She’s my second choice–my first would’ve been to have you ask the countless women who have been stoned to death for refusing to marry their rapists, or those men who have been hanged for being accused of homosexuality, but you can’t ask because they’re dead. If one feels like one has to gingerly tiptoe around the reality of the consequences of dogmatic faith to the point of making false equivalences accusing others of being equally intolerant for merely pointing this out, then I have very low expectations for the future of humanity’s progress.

  16. Hmmmmm... says

    @ We Are Here

    “homophobes articulate hate and contempt for 10%of humanity, atheists express hate and contempt for 90% of humanity. Guess who is worse.”

    Obviously the homophobes. Adults engaging in consensusal sexual acts is moraly neutral and therefore it is unreasonable and illogical to have homophobic views. While it is completely reasonable and justified to have distain for a belief system based upon imagined deities and fabicated doctrine designed to prevent critical thinking while promoting and affirming one’s superiority over others. The fact that the majority of a population might adhere to such a belief system is immaterial. The number of belivers does not make a belief correct, this is BASIC logic – If you want proof of this, go ask a climate change denier 😉

  17. JohnAGJ says

    @Unruly: I’ll take “a good little Euro-centric/Westerner view and attitude”, for all their faults, over the barbaric savagery folks like this Chisti a-hole represent any ol’ day. And guess what? I couldn’t give a crap how supposedly “xenophobic” or whatever that makes me in your eyes.

  18. Brad Naksuthin says

    What is going on in Pakistan and other Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia is a warning of what can happen when Religious groups gain political power and change the laws of a country to favor their particular religion
    The growing Right Wing Christian movement in the US promises to do the same thing.
    When a particular religion believes that it has a monopoly on “the truth” all sorts of freedoms start getting undermined in the name of God. After all, if God is on their side, everything they do has God’s blessing.
    Christians will tell you straight to your face that their allegiance is to their God (their interpretation of God) and everything they believe is True
    Therefore , they reason, everyone else should be expected to follow their true rules.

  19. Strepsi says

    @WE ARE HERE: name one religious person killed by a homosexual. Name one person who killed in the name of atheism. (No use saying Hitler or Stalin, they killed in the name of other things, and both were explicitly endorsed by religion: Hitler by the Vatican and Catholic Church, and Stalin by the Russian Orthodox Church, so religion was equally complicit in those crimes).

    Based on all actual evidence, the harm done by religion is exponentially greater than that done by homosexuals or atheists.

  20. andrew says

    Has anyone else noticed the silence of Little Kiwi on Muslim atrocities? I wonder why. Just imagine his hysterical rants if a Catholic priest or any Euro-American type white man was accused of these crimes.

  21. Diogenes Artktos says

    I’m very fuzzy on the details: I do remember a few years ago that a Muslim in an Islamic country was tried for a capital offense (treason?) because he converted to Christianity. He was eventually granted clemency by being declared mentally ill.

    In some respects that reminds me of some on the Religious Right who believe that while it’s legal to be non-Christian, it’s not moral to be one. Especially a Muslim. The Islamophobia is incredible.

  22. tarxien says

    Well, this evil man got his wish, his neighbourhood has been cleared of christians as they have fled and their homes have been looted by their muslim neighbours. Who would have predicted that would happen?? This case has received international attention but, unfortunately, these events based on the ridiculous blasphemy laws, are a regular occurrence in Pakistan. The lawyers and judges prosecuting this imam are risking their lives as mob violence rules.

  23. Michael says

    Atheism is a prejudice? What a ridiculous statement. No one is prejudiced simply by virtue of a belief or disbelief in God.

  24. andrew says

    Still no comments from Little Kiwi on Muslim atrocities. Mabye he doesn’t have the BALLS to make an anti Muslim rant. LOL LOL LOL!!!

  25. hornlongjohn says

    Religion is the worst fate that man has ever imposed upon himself. Until we rid the world of its evil clutches in all of its forms, we will never be truly free