A 10-year-old Christian girl, Faryal Bhatti, has had to go into hiding with her single mother after she misplaced a dot on her Urdu-language spelling test.
Faryal was a fifth grader at Sir Syed Girls High School at the Pakistan Ordinance Factory Colony in Havelian. She is now accused of blasphemy under Pakistan’s religious laws after she incorrectly placed a dot in the word naat, meaning a poem written in praise of the Prophet Mohammed.
She incorrectly placed dot changed the word to lanaat, which means “a curse.”
The child’s schoolteacher, identified as “Mrs. Fareeda,” sternly rebuked Faryal in front of the class, then took the matter to the headmaster, even though the tearful Faryal defended herself by saying that it was a mistake.
“The news of her alleged transgression spread outside the school into the community and she was labeled a blasphemer,” reports the Pakistan Christian Post news site. “The mosque loud speakers helped to spread the news and rallies were arranged in protest against the mother and daughter.”
In response, factory officials fired the mother and told her to vacate factory housing.
“Despite the mother’s abject apology and explanation that it was the simple error of a young girl who was in a hurry,” officials apparently were ready to charge the 10-year-old with blasphemy, prompting the single mother to go into hiding with her daughter.
The two have fled from their hometown fearing for their lives, reports Jeremy Reynalds of the Assist News Service.
The Post said Nazir S. Bhatti, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress has condemned the blasphemy allegations by the child’s teacher.
The newspaper urged the government of Pakistan “to repeal the blasphemy law as it is hanging like a sword on the necks of millions of Christians, Hindus and Ahmadi religious communities and hundreds of innocent minority members have been killed by Islamists on this pretext.”
He urged Islamic clerics and Islamic political leaders to step forward to stop the misuse of the blasphemy law.