Lifestyle & Belief

Christian girl arrested for blasphemy in Pakistan cannot read: Vatican


Deaf Pakistani men carry the Koran and placards during a protest in Lahore on March 18, 2012, over the burning of Korans in Afghanistan.



KARACHI, Pakistan — The Vatican has jumped to the defense of a Pakistani girl accused of blasphemy, stating that the girl, who is mentally disabled, cannot read or write.

French Cardinal Jean-Louise Tauran said on Saturday that “that before asserting a sacred text has been the object of scorn, it is worth checking the facts," during an interview on Radio Vatican, the AFP reported.

The girl, who is 11 years old, has been accused of burning pages from a book that contained verses from the Koran. She was arrested last Thursday, although police have claimed that this was for her own protection.

According to Voice of America, in Pakistan, anyone accused of blasphemy can be sentenced to death, and the laws are often blatantly misused to settle local disputes. Human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have called on the Pakistani government to reform the law.

However, Tauran, who is in charge of interfaith dialogue at the Vatican, said during the interview that he believed it “impossible in the light of the facts that the girl had tried to express her scorn for the sacred book of Islam.”