The parents of the Christian girl known as Rimsha say the 11-year-old has always been slow. They say she had to lock herself in the family’s bathroom when a local mob came for her, egged on by an imam who said she burned pages of the holy book. (The imam has since been arrested and accused of concocting the whole story.) “A woman hit me and slapped my face,” says Rimsha’s mother. “People started running into the house to catch my daughter. I was scared they might kill us. We were all crying. My daughter was very upset.”
Her parents say they have no reason to keep Islamic texts in their home, because the whole family is illiterate. That hasn’t stopped angry Muslims in their neighborhood from threatening to burn the family alive. Pakistan has strict anti-blasphemy laws that have led to the deaths of more than 30 people in the past two decades, Christian leaders say.