48 Hours to Save Disabled Girl in Pakistan from the Death Sentence – Petition

Update: 3 September 2012
Incredible — one million signatures already! Our outcry is in the news in Pakistan and internationally, but Rimsha’s hearing has been postponed to Friday, meaning five more days in jail — let’s build the petition for her to be released immediately!
Update: 2 September 2012
Our outcry has been delivered to the government. Now, tension is building — Pakistani police have arrested a cleric for allegedly planting pages of a Koran in Rimsha’s bag, while 600 Christian families have reportedly been forced out of their homes. Let’s hit 1 million, help free Rimsha and help protect this vulnerable community!

As of 8.51 a.m. Pacific on Sept. 2 the new goal is 1 million; there are 954,275 names on the petition. It’s exciting to see a new name pop up every split second from all over the world. United we stand.

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AS OF 4:11 P.M. PACIFIC TIME ON AUGUST 30 THERE ARE 237,000 SUPPORTERS; PLEASE KEEP THIS GOING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AS WE NEED 500,000

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We must unify and continue to speak up against the atrocities rampant in our world—particularly to support those who are unable to speak for themselves. This 14 year-old girl has Down’s Syndrome. Can this really be happening?

If you feel drawn to do so, you may sign the petition. If you have signed an AVAAZ petition before, all you do is enter your email address and click the “Send” button.

Here are the details:

This is a message from Misrek Masih, of Islamabad, Pakistan.

Dear friends,

In 48 hours, my young daughter will appear before a court in Pakistan, under blasphemy laws that carry the death sentence. My innocent girl has struggled her whole life with mental disability — and shouldn’t be punished. I ask you to help save my daughter. Sign this petition to President Zardari to support my call for protection for religious minorities:

Last week an enraged crowd threatened to burn my daughter alive, and in 48 hours a judge will decide whether she goes free or stays in jail. Rimsha is a minor with mental disabilities and often isn’t in control of her actions. Yet local police here in Pakistan have charged her with desecrating the Koran, and we are afraid for her life.

Right now she is being held in a maximum-security jail, and in hours, she will face the court under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws, which can carry the death sentence. We are a poor Christian family witnessing mob fury over my daughter’s case, and many other families have faced similar intimidation forcing them to either flee or live in fear. But the international attention on Rimsha’s case has emboldened Pakistani Muslim leaders to speak out against this injustice and forced President Zardari’s attention.

Please help me keep up the global outcry on my daughter’s case. I urge you to sign my petition to President Zardari to save Rimsha and demand protection for us and other vulnerable minority families. Avaaz will share this campaign with local and international media, watched carefully by all the politicians here:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/pakistan_save_my_daughter/?bzfwcdb&v=17431

An angry mob demanded the arrest of my daughter after a local imam started inciting people against her, claiming she had desecrated the Koran. Some then threatened to kill her and burn down the houses of Christians in our community. I pray that at her hearing on Saturday, the case against her is dismissed and she can come back to live with us.

Our family is in grave danger, as even talking about the blasphemy laws in Pakistan can be deadly — last year the Pakistani Minister for Minority Affairs was killed after asking for the removal of the death penalty for committing blasphemy. It’s such a sensitive situation that many of our Christian neighbours from our Islamabad slum have had to flee their homes.

We respect the religious rights of others. We simply hope for the safety of our daughter and our community and wish this had never happened. We are happy that the Ulema Council, an umbrella group of Muslim clerics and scholars here in Pakistan, spoke out, saying: “We don’t want to see injustice done with anyone. We will work to end this climate of fear.” With your help, we can not only free Rimsha but make this incident the beginning of a greater understanding between communities in Pakistan. I ask you to sign this petition, and share it with your friends.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/pakistan_save_my_daughter/?bzfwcdb&v=17431

With hope and determination,

Misrek Masih with the Avaaz team

PS: This petition was started on Avaaz’s new Community Petitions site, which lets anyone, anywhere, start a petition on issues that are important to them. To start your own, click here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bv17431

MORE INFORMATION

Pakistan court postpones bail decision for girl accused of burning Quran (CNN)
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/30/world/asia/pakistan-girl-blasphemy

Father of Pakistani Christian ‘blasphemer’ girl appeals to President (Telegraph)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9503532/Father-of-Pakistani-Christian-blasphemer-girl-appeals-to-President-Asif-Ali-Zardari.html

Pakistan blasphemy case Christian girl ‘is 14′ (BBC)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19397884

Pakistani Muslim leaders support Christian girl accused of blasphemy (Guardian)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/27/pakistani-muslim-christian-girl-blasphemy

Pakistani Christians, fearing backlash, flee community after girl is accused of blasphemy (Washington Post)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-christians-fearing-backlash-flee-community-after-girl-accused-of-blasphemy/2012/08/20/d3b23c9a-eae3-11e1-866f-60a00f604425_story.html

Pakistani president wades into ‘Down’s Syndrome’ blasphemy case (Christian Science Monitor)
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2012/0820/Pakistani-president-wades-into-Down-s-Syndrome-blasphemy-case/