I am still gathering information. But it is clear that Umair Asim himself has not been directly accused of blasphemy. Being part of the administration of the school (his father – Asim Farooqi is the main owner/principal), he has been arrested. From today’s Express Tribune:
The school management took out front page adverts in two leading newspapers on Friday to deny it had any knowledge of the supposed insults to the prophet, saying Iftikhar distributed the work just 10 minutes before the school closed for the Eidul Azha holiday.
“Our school management and the owners have no link whatsoever with this dirty act,” the advertisement in Urdu said.
“We appeal to the government and the police to take legal action against this teacher and investigate her real motive”.
The school’s headmaster Asim Farooqi has been remanded in custody for 14 days on charges of blasphemy, which can attract the death penalty, police officer Azam Manhais told AFP, while a search was under way for Iftikhar.
Farooqi’s lawyer Jawad Ashraf said they would apply for bail on Saturday and accused police of bowing to the mob over the headmaster’s arrest.
“It seems his arrest was made on public pressure but we see that he has no role in this entire case except some negligence as principal of this school,” he said.
And if you still think that there is no problem with the blasphemy law – here some of the protesters:
Many of the protesters at the scene didn’t appear to know exactly what the protests were about. “He [the school owner] is a bad man. His school should be destroyed,” said a nine-year-old child, though he said he didn’t know what offence the owner had committed.
“He is a very indecent person. He should be punished for doing this. He charges high fees and doesn’t listen to complaints,” said a protester who identified himself as Muhammad Abdullah.
What! A nine-year-old talking about destroying the school!! And not even knowing the nature of the offense. No – Richard Dawkins is still wrong about calling religion as child abuse, but this is exactly the kind of thing that gives fodder to that.
Salman is an astronomer and Associate Professor of Integrated Science & Humanities at Hampshire College, Massachusetts. Currently, he is working on understanding the rise of creationism in contemporary Islamic world and how Muslims view the relationship between science & religion.