Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The bail hearing for Rimsha
Masih, the Christian disabled girl arrested for blasphemy has once again been
for today, this morning the court of Islamabad in charge of the proceedings
postponed the next bail hearing to September 3. The
decision follows a day after the extension
of her period of pre-trial detention (14 days which ended yesterday, ed).
According to the charges brought against her, Rimsha was in possession of a few pages of a damaged book, containing verses from the Koran. According to Pakistan's blasphemy laws, the girl faces up to life in prison. However, the defense ordered a medical report, which certified her condition as a minor (about 13 years of age) and mental disability. The prosecution, however, has disputed the results of the medical committee.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has re-launched its appeal to the government to tackle the issue of education in Pakistan, and therefore has organized a conference which was attended by about 200 people, including teachers, activists , intellectuals and Christian and Muslim religious leaders. According to Peter Jacob, executive director of NCJP, "we must work to remove contents of hatred and religious intolerance towards minorities from textbooks. These are issues that, over the years, have resulted in the migration of the Hindu community. And recently, the arrest of the small girl Rimsha Masih ".
A study published by NCJP, Taleem Nafrattki Aabiyari Ya (Educate or breed hatred), reveals that 22 textbooks for primary and secondary school, which will be adopted in the school year 2012-2013 in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh, contain 55 chapters "rich" in insults against Hindus, Christians and India, in addition to obvious distortions of historical facts.
For Mehdi Hasan, a Muslim academic, "Islamic studies should not be taught in schools, moreover [textbooks] should never talk about any belief in a negative way. But now, religion has penetrated so deeply into our minds, that we have started calling trees and roads with names of the Koran. "