600 Christian Families Flee after Pakistan Blasphemy Laws used to Arrest Young Christian Girl
Some 100 Christians have been sleeping in a forest in Pakistan after a member of their group was accused of violating the country's strict blasphemy laws. They're building a new church out of branches in the secluded area after fleeing their neighbourhood out of fear. Their ordeal began recently when a Christian girl was accused by a neighbour of burning pages of the Quran. Much of the case is still in question including the girl's age, whether she is mentally impaired and what exactly she was burning. But as word of the blasphemy accusation spread, hundreds of people gathered at her house demanding something be done to the girl. The police eventually arrested her and are now investigating. Sajid Ishaq, the chairman of the Pakistan Interfaith League, says some 600 families have fled the neighbourhood and that his groups is calling for an investigation into what role religious extremism played in ignighting the case. Sajid Ishaq, Chairman of Pakistan Interfaith League: "They are actually now taking refuge with their families and friends, host families, churches also. So they are actually fearful and we are trying our best to send them home safely and we are also demanding to the government that they should give them the compensation of the loss." The issue of blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where critics say it's often abused to settle vendettas or as retribution.