A Pakistani 11-year-old with Downs syndrome may face the death penalty for blasphemy over her alleged burning of pages from the Quran. Ooberfuse, a London-based electro-pop band, featuring Wizard MC from the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), have today released a song, Turning the Tide, raising their voices in protest against the latest victim of Pakistan's black blasphemy laws.
Following the advocacy work for victims of Pakistans black law, started by Punjabi Governor, Salman Taseer (gunned down by his own body-guard in January 2011) and Pakistan's Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti (brutally murdered by Taliban assassins in March 2011) Turn the Tide highlights the plight of young Rimsha Masih arrested by the police, under pressure from the mob, last Thursday at Mehrabadi village, on the outskirts of Islamabad.
Cherrie, ooberfuse front-woman, says; "Over the weekend we got a call from Wilson of the BPCA alerting us to the events unfolding last Thursday which culminated in Rimshas arrest. She was persuaded to take a sack full of rubbish to the dust-bin but, unbeknown to her, the sack contained ash from burnt papers including fragments from the Quran. In no time at all and with a few days remaining of the extended Ramadan fast preceding the day-festival of Eid an enraged crowd had gathered calling for her arrest and execution."
Hal, from ooberfuse, adds : "When is this madness going to end? The intolerance of the Islamic majority towards non-Muslim faiths in countries like Pakistan is staggering. The blasphemy law gives legal credence to preposterous claims from disgruntled disaffected members of the community that Islam has somehow been defamed. These claims are very often fabricated by Muslims hell-bent on inciting religious hatred against peace-loving minorities like the Christians and Ahmadis."
Says Wilson Chowdhry, from BPCA, "this intolerance has sunk to new levels of depravity with the incarceration of a juvenile girl with physical disabilities. The founding father of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali, said in his 1947 inaugural speech
[ "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State."]
He would be turning in his grave right now if he knew how the apparatus of the Pakistan State is being cynically used against defenceless minority faiths. Turn the Tide is inspired by his words and the tragic story of a defenceless disabled girl called Rimsha.
Turn the Tide is released tomorrow evening (22nd Aug) and will be sung live outside the Pakistan Embassy, during a 2 hour demonstration from 7pm organised by the BPCA - calling for freedom for Rimsha. Lead humanitarians from a variety of faiths will be joining us in solidarity seeking an end to the ongoing injustice. Further details can be found here: