With the release of a 14-year-old Christian girl accused of
blasphemy, Voice of the Martyrs is asking Christians to remember
their persecuted brothers and sisters in Pakistan.
Todd Nettleton, director of media development for VOM, explains
that the girl, who is mentally impaired, was jailed for three weeks
after being accused of burning pages of the Quran.
"We at Voice of the Martyrs are very encouraged by the
release of Rimsha [Masih]. This is a great sign when the justice
department steps in and there really is something approaching
justice," Nettleton says. "When somebody who has been falsely
accused is allowed to return to their family, that's a huge 'praise
Although taken by helicopter to a secret location, the blasphemy
charges are still on the books. A Muslim cleric has been accused of
planting the evidence.
Meanwhile, other Christians remain jailed under the blasphemy
law, including Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death.
"As we see this case of Rimsha, it does show that international
pressure can work; international voices can be heard and can sort
of move things in Pakistan," the VOM spokesman asserts. "So, I
think we need to remember that as it relates to Asia Bibi, because
we obviously want to increase the international calls for justice
for her as well."
Nettleton says the fact that a Muslim cleric was arrested in
connection with Rimsha Masih's case brings hope that the blasphemy
law, which has often been wrongly applied to Christians, will be
Even though a Christian is no longer under the death penalty in
Iran, one group is maintaining focus on other persecuted Christians
in the country.