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On the Rise: Islamists Scapegoating Children for Blasphemy

October 1, Bangladesh: Angry over a Facebook photo of the Quran rumored to have been tagged by a young boy, Muslim mobs set fires in at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes.

Oct 3, Egypt: Two Coptic Christian boys (Nabil Rizk, 10, and Mina al-Farag, 9) were arrested for the crime of urinating on the Quran. Angry mobs gathered outside the police station, causing security to be dispatched to the village. Following international coverage, the boys were released, but are still charged with the crime.

Ryan's family belongings


October 8, Karachi, Pakistan: 16-year-old Ryan Stanten was arrested for forwarding an offensive text message deemed blasphemous. Angry crowds ransacked and burned his family home.


October 12, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:  14-year-old Emmanuel Josephat was arrested for urinating on the Quran. In response to the alleged defilement, ten churches were attacked and burned, car windows were smashed, and passersby were harmed. The angry mob then rallied outside the police station, demanding that the boy be released to them with the intent of beheading him. His beleaguered mother pleaded: “I admit my son made a foolish mistake – a mistake that could have been made by any child”.

In several of these cases, the mob turned violent following Friday prayers, raising the possibility that they rioted with the coordination of their religious leaders. In fact, accusations of insulting Islam have increased particularly against Christians since the Innocence of Muslims film trailer was produced by a Coptic Christian (currently incarcerated in the U.S. supposedly for violating his probation, but suspiciously coincidental with Muslim world leaders clamoring for his arrest).

The similar pattern and motivations of these incidents are clear. Religious Islamic leaders utilize copycat tactics that circulate amongst Islamist groups in order to foment hatred and violence among their constituents and manipulate the political arena.