The Girl from the Swat Flogging
An interview with Saira Bibi
Tell us about the day of the flogging.
I don’t remember the exact date, but it was in January 2009. My husband works at a coalmine in Hyderabad and he was away. He had asked us to organize a lunch for one of his friends who had recently got married. After the lunch guests left, we heard noises at our door. They were shouting for us to quickly come out of the house. My mother-in-law asked them who they were. They said they were the Taliban. They said there were some allegations against me, and they wanted to question me. I told my mother-in-law I had no reason to face them. They kept shouting, threatening to drag me out themselves. My brother-in-law took me to them. He said we have no choice, that I should trust Allah.
What did the Taliban say to your family? How were you feeling when you left with them?
They said I would have to defend myself in their Shariah court which was set up at a government-run primary school for girls about 200 meters from our home. So we walked there. I was scared. In my mind, I was walking toward my death.
What happened at the school?
When I got to this self-declared Shariah court, I saw three men with long beards who were fully equipped with weapons. One of the Taliban there accused me of having an illicit relationship with the friend of my husband whom we had had the lunch for. He said I would have to face punishment; that I will have to be flogged because that is what Islam says. I denied the allegation, but they didn’t listen to me. One of them told me to bend my head toward my knees, and then they started flogging me. Another one counted up to 15 for each time I was struck. They told me to walk to the nearby ground for the final decision. As I walked there I was thinking they are going to slit my throat and kill me like they have others. There was a mob gathered there. I was told to lie face down on the ground. Two men held my hands down, another had his hand on my neck, a third one held my feet. I kept shouting I am innocent. I kept crying to Allah to help me. They lashed me another 15 times. After the second round of flogging, I wasn’t able to walk and my brother-in-law had to assist me back home. ….
Read more : http://www.newsweekpakistan.com/the-take/244
– Muslim councillor receives death threats over blasphemy case
By Rob Crilly, Islamabad
Raza Anjum travelled to Pakistan in December and spent three weeks meeting political leaders urging them to release Asia Bibi, a mother-of-five found guilty of defaming the Prophet Mohammed, a conviction that human rights campaigners say is unsafe.
In one threatening phone call, which he has reported to police, he was told to “stop supporting Christians or he would be made a terrible example out of”. …
Read more : The Telegraph
By Anbarasan Ethirajan
Four people including a Muslim cleric have been arrested in Bangladesh in connection with the death of 14-year-old girl who was publicly lashed.
The teenager was accused of having an affair with a married man, police say, and the punishment was given under Islamic Sharia law.
Hena Begum’s family members said a village court consisting of elders and clerics passed the sentence.
She was alleged to have had the affair with her cousin and received 80 lashes. …
Read more : BBC News, Dhaka
by Selig S. Harrison
As the Islamist nightmare envelops Pakistan, the Obama administration ponders what the United States should do. But the bitter reality is that the United States is already doing too much in Pakistan. It is the American shadow everywhere, the Pakistani feeling of being smothered by the U.S. embrace, that gives the Islamists their principal rallying cry.
Evidence is everywhere of what the Economist calls “a rising tide of anti-American passion.” The leading spokesman of traditional Muslim theology, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), opposes the “war on terror” because “it is an American war” and blames a U.S. plot for the recent assassination of the moderate Punjab governor, Salman Taseer.
The endless procession of U.S. leaders paying goodwill visits to Islamabad, most recently Vice President Joe Biden, evokes sneers and ridicule in the Urdu-language press, accompanied by cartoons showing Pakistanis scratching fleas crawling over their bodies. The late special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, liked free-swinging encounters with Pakistani journalists that left a trail of bitterness expressed in the Urdu media, but this did not deter Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from return visits. …
Read more : National Interest
– Student’s Case Underscores Urgent Need to Repeal Abusive Law
Pakistan has set the standard for intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on an exam paper is truly appalling. It’s bad enough that a school official flagged it, but for police and judicial authorities to go ahead and lock up a teenager under these circumstances is mind boggling. – – Bede Sheppard, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch
(New York) – The Pakistani government should immediately drop blasphemy charges against a 17-year-old student and ensure his safe release from detention, Human Rights Watch said today.
The authorities arrested Muhammad Samiullah on January 28, 2011, and charged him under Pakistan’s “blasphemy law,” article 295-C of the criminal code, for allegedly including derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad in his answers on a written school exam in April 2010. According to press reports, police at Shahra Noor Jahan Police Station in Karachi registered a case against Samiullah after receiving a complaint from the chief controller of the intermediate level education board. On January 29, a judicial magistrate, Ehsan A. Malik, ordered Samiullah sent to a juvenile prison pending trial. …
Read more : Human Rights Watch