The nation’s leading Down syndrome organizations are expressing concern about reports of a Pakistani girl with the disability arrested for allegedly burning pages of the Quran.
The girl known as Rimsha was arrested last Thursday after she was accused of burning pages of the Muslim holy book, a crime punishable by death in Pakistan, according to AFP. However, there are conflicting reports about whether or not she in fact burned trash or pages with religious significance.
The case has drawn international attention as Rimsha is Christian and her arrest reportedly prompted many of her faith to flee the area.
Now, advocates for people with disabilities in the United States are worried about Rimsha’s fate.
“People with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities are a vulnerable population,” reads a joint statement from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, the National Down Syndrome Congress, the National Down Syndrome Society, Down Syndrome Education International and the International Down Syndrome Coalition.
“We strongly encourage the Pakistani police to ensure the young girl’s safety and to allow family members and others who are known and trusted by the girl to stay with her to the extent that detention is necessary for her own protection,” the groups said. “We hope that this young girl will be able to return to the routine where she is safe and happy. We join others in urging restraint and compassion in this situation.”