Muslims Rape 9-Year-Old Christian For Iraq Revenge. By Michael Ireland. ANS
22 May 2003
LAHORE, PAKISTAN - A nine-year-old Christian girl from Pakistan claims to have been beaten and sexually assaulted by her Muslim employers whenever footage from the war in Iraq was shown on television.
The girl from Faisal Town in Lahore claims that when she cried for mercy, they would ask her to call for the Americans to help her, according to a report from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
The girl said the couple told her they were taking revenge for the American bombing of Iraqi Muslim children on her because she was an "infidel and a Christian," according to what she told CSW partners, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), a human rights NGO based in Pakistan.
She said the couple would beat her with a cricket bat, hang her upside down from the ceiling, pour spoonfuls of hot chillies into her mouth, handcuff her and bash her head repeatedly against the wall.
When she cried and appealed for mercy, they would tell her to call the Americans for help.
She attempted to escape from her employers on April 26, but after being recaptured, she was so badly beaten that she was put on a rickshaw home by her employers who apparently thought she would die.
When her older brother took her to the local hospital, she was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit.
A preliminary medical report from that hospital stated that she had suffered a fractured right arm, multiple burns, and bruises and lacerations to her face and body. She was later treated at Jinnah Hospital, Lahore and is suffering from depression and trauma.
The APMA has helped the girl's family register an official complaint against her employers with the Faisal police. The APMA reports that so far no action has been taken on her behalf by the authorities.
The APMA has also helped another family file a complaint under Section 10 of the Zina Ordinance against a man whom they allege raped a ten-year-old Christian girl.
The girl's father told the APMA the family had enjoyed peaceful relations with their Muslim neighbors until the war in Iraq broke out.
He said they noticed a marked change in their neighbor's attitude and noted his links with some extremist Islamic organizations. They claim the man lured the girl into his home on March 31 under the pretext of receiving an urgent telephone call from her uncle before raping her.
Both families are said to have received threats from Muslim extremists to withdraw their complaints.
Stuart Windsor, National Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said: "We strongly condemn these two appalling attacks. Although there has been no major backlash on Christian institutions since the war in Iraq began, the attacks on these two girls seem to be related to the war.
"Christians in Pakistan are increasingly vulnerable to religiously motivated hate crimes and Christian girls and women seem to be specially targeted. We are outraged by the unwillingness of the police to investigate the complaints as this only emboldens extremists to continue to victimize Christians and other
"CSW calls on the Government of Pakistan to clearly and publicly condemn such acts, investigate them promptly, independently and impartially and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice."
The names and details of the girls and their alleged attackers have not been given for legal reasons.
Christian and other non-Muslim women who are victims of rape are often forcibly converted and married off to their rapists or sold into prostitution. They can also be at risk of being accused of committing adultery. Under Shari'ah Law, there is no distinction between rape and adultery.
The penalty for zina (adultery and fornication) is death by stoning and to discharge adultery, the burden falls on the victim to prove rape which requires the testimony of four adult male Muslims who have witnessed the rape. The testimony of the rape victim alone or of four female witnesses is insufficient. If the accused is a Muslim, no non-Muslim is allowed to testify against him.
There are about 2.25 million Christians (1.6 percent of the population) in Pakistan and they are often from poorer backgrounds. They suffer a wide range of discriminations including the Blasphemy law, which can see them sentenced to death on the testimony of a single Muslim witness.