8 Year-Old Boy Charged with Blasphemy in Pakistan

In Pakistan, blasphemy is punishable by death

An 8-year-old boy is now the youngest person to be charged with blasphemy in Pakistan.

He could face the death penalty after being accused of intentionally desecrating a seminary in the Punjab town of Bhong. A cleric found the young Hindu boy urinating in the town’s library on July 24.

He was held in jail for a week. Media outlets have not released his name out of concern for his safety. In retaliation, a Muslim crowd reportedly attacked a Hindu temple. 

“It sparked massive unrest in the Punjab town as a Muslim crowd reportedly sought revenge by ransacking and setting alight a Hindu temple after learning of the allegations through social media on Wednesday, Ramesh Vankwani, a parliament member and head of the Pakistan Hindu Council, said on Twitter,” per The Mirror.

Subsequently, at least 20 people have been arrested.

“[The boy] is not even aware of such blasphemy issues and he has been falsely indulged in these matters. He still doesn’t understand what his crime was and why he was kept in jail for a week,” a member of the boy’s family told the Guardian.

His family has since gone into hiding. While no executions for blasphemy charges have been carried out in Pakistan, accused people have often been murdered by vigilantes.

“Blasphemy laws have been disproportionately used in the past against religious minorities in Pakistan. Although no blasphemy executions have been carried out in the country since the death penalty was introduced for the crime in 1986, suspects are often attacked and sometimes killed by mobs,” reports The Guardian.

Kapil Dev, a human rights activist, called for charges against the boy to be dropped.

“Attacks on Hindu temples have increased in the last few years showing an escalating level of extremism and fanaticism. The recent attacks seem to be a new wave of persecution of Hindus,” he said to reporters.

FR24 notes that “Four countries account for nearly 80% of all reported incidents of mob activity, mob violence and/or threats of mob violence as a result of alleged blasphemous acts in countries with criminal blasphemy laws between 2014 and 2018.”

On Twitter, Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, condemned the mob attack and promised that the temple would be restored.

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3 responses to “8 Year-Old Boy Charged with Blasphemy in Pakistan”

  1. Dash says:

    Unless the boy urinated on sacred texts willfully, should the charge not be public urination? What adult door keeper allowed a non-Muslim boy without adult supervision to enter a seminary in the first place? Pakistani blasphemy charges through the years have always struck me as convenient for political and/ or religious purposes.

  2. nothexpert says:

    With the Taliban coming back into power in neighboring Afghanistan things will only get worse. The tribal allegiances of the Pashtuns will always supersede any notion of nationality, as will their adherence to Islam. During the Afghan civil war in the 90’s which resulted in the Taliban takeover, the Pakistani ISI, as well as the US and Saudi Arabia, where firmly on the side of the Taliban. This is mostly due to the resistance fighters of the Northern Alliance, the Talibans only real rival, who were composed of Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras backed by Iran and Russia. It was only after the Taliban had taken over a vast majority of the country and shut down universities, forbade women from leaving the house without a blood relative and slaughtered religious minorities by the thousands that the Clinton administration decided maybe we backed the wrong horse.

    But it was too late, while the Pakistani-Afghani border provides a clear international boundary to make it easy for us westerners to digest geography, it means nothing to those who proselytize about the first Islamic caliphates which spanned from Europe across India into Asia, where large populations of Muslims still live in the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh etc. One of the many reasons ISIS was so adept at recruiting was their establishment of a caliphate across apostate nations like Syria and Iraq, which didn’t exist until recently. Now, with the Taliban taking power once again and without the US to keep them entertained, blasphemy and idolatry will become hot topics as polytheism is forbidden in Islam, punishable by death, and I’m not sure if you know much about Hinduism, but they have a lot of gods.

    With Afghanistan firmly in Taliban control the strict interpretation of Islam will continue to spread, but mainly due to the house of Saud who are responsible for the Taliban in the fist place and seem to be behind the most anti-western strains of Islam found around the world today. They were one of the first and only countries to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government and even after 9/11 drug their feet distancing themselves from the organization. What will be most interesting is to see what Iran does. The Taliban was perfectly fine siding with Shia’s, who they consider polytheists because of their devotion to Ali the 4th caliph, to fight a common enemy. But the Sunni-Shia divide was only on the back burner. Yemen, the Syrian civil war, ISIS, the ensuing migrant crisis of which Turkey bore the brunt of (and Europe notwithstanding) control of Iraq (who are 60/40 Shia/Sunni), Israel, Lebanon, the Palistinians and many more were all small pieces of larger puzzle that will begin to get more visible.

  3. IntegratedCrazy says:

    At least they don’t have alphabet people destroying their country and culture.