LOOK OUT! I Committed Blasphemy in Pakistan


John R. Houk

© March 15, 2019

I have mentioned that I operate three blogs:

 

  1. SlantRight 2.0

 

  1. NeoConservative Christian Right (NCCR)

 

  1. Ubiquitous8Thoughts

 

The first is a Blogger platform. The second is a WordPress platform. And the third is an OverBlog platform (located in France under EU rules).

 

A couple of days ago I received an email from WordPress Support notifying me the government of Pakistan had contacted WordPress over one of my posts. The Support Team informed me they weren’t going to censor my blog but if I did not remove the alleged content the NCCR blog would be banned from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

Here is the content of the WordPress Support email:

 

Mar 12, 19:33 UTC

 

Hello,

 

A Pakistan authority has demanded that we disable the following content on your WordPress.com site:

 

https://oneway2day.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/taqiyya-action_thumb.jpg?w=553&h=416

 

While we have not complied, due to the order it is possible that your site could at some point in the future become inaccessible for Internet visitors originating from Pakistan. Visitors from outside of Pakistan would still be able to access the site.

 

You and your readers may be interested in these suggestions on bypassing Internet restrictions.

 

For your reference, we have included a copy of the complaint below. No reply is necessary, but please let us know if you have any questions.

 

— Begin complaint —

 

Dear WordPress Team,

 

I am writing on behalf of Web Analysis Team of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) which has been designated for taking appropriate measures for regulating Internet Content in line with the prevailing laws of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

In lieu of above it is highlighted that few of the web pages hosted on your platform are extremely Blasphemous and are hurting the sentiments of many Muslims around Pakistan. The same has also been declared blasphemous under Pakistan Penal Code section 295- B and is in clear violation of Section 37 of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) 2016 and Section 19 of Constitution of Pakistan.

 

Keeping above in view, It is requested to please support in removing following URL’s from your platform at earliest please.

 

The below mentioned websites can be found on following URL’s:-

 

[…]
https://oneway2day.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/taqiyya-action_thumb.jpg?w=553&h=416

[…]

 

You are requested to contribute towards maintaining peace and harmony in the world by discontinuation of hosting of these websites for viewership in Pakistan with immediate effect. We will be happy to entertain any query if deemed necessary and looking forward for your favorable response at your earliest.

 

Regards

Web Analysis Team

+92 51 9214396

 

— End complaint —

 

It looks like I will not be travelling to Pakistan anytime soon. Pakistan actually shows the legal code my “Blasphemous” content breaks.

 

So, quoting the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority:

 

Pakistan Penal Code section 295- B and is in clear violation of Section 37 of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) 2016 and Section 19 of Constitution of Pakistan

 

I found three PDFs from Googling portions of the law I am breaking:

 

 

 

 

Of particular interest to me was from “PAKISTAN Use and abuse of the blasphemy laws,” the penalty for breaking the Blasphemy law under the heading, “2.2 Sections of the PPC amended or added during Zia-ul Haq’s Islamization drive” which is on page 7 of the PDF referencing section 295-B:

 

Several sections were inserted in the PPC in the 1980s. Section 295-B was added in 1982; it made defiling the Koran a criminal offence. It reads: “Whoever willfully [sic] defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Koran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.” [Bold text by Blog Editor]

 

In 1980, section 298-A was inserted in the PPC, by which the use of derogatory remarks “by words, … or by imputation innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly” in respect of persons revered in Islam, was made a criminal offence punishable with up to three years’ imprisonment. In 1986, defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammad was made a criminal offence and the relevant section, 295-C added to the PPC (see below in detail).

 

Most alarming after examining further penalties heaped on is on page 8 of the PDF under the subheading, “2.3. The blasphemy law: Section 295-C PPC”:

 

In 1986 the penal code was amended by Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1986, which added the blasphemy law under section 295-C to the Pakistan Penal Code. It provided the death penalty or life imprisonment for the criminal offence of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammad. It reads:

 

“295-C: Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.” [Bold text by the Blog Editor]

The Court directed the government of Pakistan to effect the necessary legal changes and added, “in case this is not done by 30 April 1991 the words ‘or punishment for life’ in section 295-C, PPC, shall cease to have effect on that date”. Decisions by the Federal Shariat Court are binding on the government under Article 203-D(3) of the Constitution. The Government has the possibility to appeal against such decisions to the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court before any directive of the Federal Shariat Court takes effect. The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not file an appeal against the decision making the death penalty the only punishment available for blasphemy. In July 1991, it announced that it had decided to amend section 295-C as directed by the court. A bill to that effect was placed before parliament in 1992. While the Senate, the upper house of parliament, unanimously adopted the bill in July 1992, the lower house of parliament discussed it at length but did not pass it. Opposition parties considered it to be too vague and …

 

Now that’s some Free Speech limitations for essentially speaking the truth and then receiving the death penalty. Pakistan’s law establishing all things Islam as supreme is not surprising since 97% of the population is Islam and of those 97%, a staggering amount are Sunni-Islam Muslims.

 

Considering the huge number of Muslims that undoubtedly accept Islamic principles in Pakistan’s rule of law, laws relating to Blasphemy are unsurprising. Just as Christian principles should be an influence in the rule of law in Western nations.

 

As far as I am concerned, Pakistan’s rule of law is a glaring example of why Islamic principles CANNOT BE ACCEPTED in the West as the rule of law, ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA WHICH HAS A BILL OF RIGHTS AS PART OF THE CONSTITUTION WHICH AFFIRMS CHRISTIAN CONCEPTS OF NATURAL LAW!

 

I responded to the WordPress Support thinking I would get some kind of reply affirming, rejecting or a mixed reaction my Free Speech stand:

 

Pakistan is in a sad state of Sharia censoring the citizens from Free Speech truth. I pray the WordPress powers that be and the blog platform’s legal team are more protective of Free Speech than Pakistan. On the other hand Pakistan is a sovereign nation and I suspect the Pakistan government is protecting its Muslim citizens (as you probably know Pakistan is overwhelmingly a Sunni-Islam majority nation) from getting upset. In Sharia, placing the prophet Muhammad in a bad light – even when factual – is a capital crime. A Pakistani Christian (**Asia Bibi) survived for nearly 9 years on death row accused of insulting Muhammad by implying Jesus was a greater person. After nine years and the failure of evidence from Bibi’s accuser, Bibi was released from prison nearly causing riots by the devout Muslim Pakistanis.

 

It’s sad but I can live with accommodating Pakistan’s request as pertaining to Pakistan. However, outside of Pakistan, I pray you honor Free Speech and not censor posts that are outside of Pakistan’s authority.

 

Thank you for your consideration and your work, [Blog Editor: The links related to Asia Bibi were not in the original email sent to WordPress Support. The double asterisks (“**”) near Asia’s name is to a recent link about Asia stuck in a secretive location in ill health and being refused medical attention. I want to bring attention to the plight of Asia Bibi and thus will posting her still horrendous treatment directly after my thoughts on Free Speech.]

 

No response or further action of notifications so far from WordPress.

 

I can live with my blogs being banned in a 97% Muslim nation. And I believe I will not be visiting Pakistan anytime soon … or ever.

 

JRH 3/15/19

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Please Support NCCR

*****************

‘Everyone is Worried’: Asia Bibi ‘Very Unwell’ in Pakistani Safe House, Being Denied Medical Care

 

Asia Bibi

 

By Will Maule, Faithwire

03-11-2019

CBN News

 

Asia Bibi, the mother of five who spent almost a decade on death row for a crime she did not commit, is reported to be in dire physical condition as she continues to be held in a safe house in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Bibi, 53, was acquitted of blasphemy last October after the Supreme Court ruled that the accusations had no evidential basis. Since then, Bibi has been granted asylum in Canada, but as yet has not been released from her home country.

 

What Is The Latest?

 

According to a source quoted in The Daily Mail, Bibi is “very unwell” and being denied medical care while holed up in a safe house with “low blood pressure.”

 

“Everyone is very worried,” the source explained. “She won her appeal and was supposed to be out of Pakistan by now.”

 

Despite the fact that Bibi’s children are now safely in Canada, the Pakistani government has wanted to seek assurances from the embattled mother that she will not speak ill of her home country upon leaving. There is still no indication of when exactly Bibi will finally evade the clutches of the country that has caused her so much strife.

 

“Even though the government says she can leave, the army has all the power in this case,” the source added. “They are in control of her. They are fearful about getting a negative press if she speaks out about her experiences – but they will get an even worse press if she dies in protective custody.”

 

British officials recently stated that the Pakistani government has “confirmed that Asia Bibi is free to make her own decisions and to leave Pakistan,” but the realities of this case speak of a very different story indeed.

 

Many are calling on prominent church leaders, such as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, to do more on Bibi’s behalf.

 

 

For now, Asia and her husband, Ashiq Masih, remain in Pakistan with little idea as to when they will be allowed to leave.

 

What Is The Background?

 

Bibi was initially arrested back in 2009 after supposedly entering into an argument with a group of women about a source of drinking water. The Islamist women accused Bibi of drinking from the same tap as them, to which Bibi allegedly responded, “Jesus Christ died for my sins. What did the prophet Muhammad do for you?” a remark which they believed offended their revered religious figure.

 

However, in the Supreme Court’s final judgment, it declared that the two sisters who accused Bibi “had no regard for the truth,” before adding that “the said semi-literate young sisters had a reason to level allegations against the appellant which could be untrue.”

 

The landmark judgment also noted that the prosecution’s presented evidence in the case “was nothing short of concoction incarnate.”

 

“Her conviction is set aside and she is to be relieved forthwith if not required in other charges,” said Chief Justice Saqib Nisar in the astonishingly bold ruling, as reported by The Guardian.

 

But the court’s statement went even further, implying that Bibi had been subject to clear-cut prejudice in her arrest and trial.

 

“It is ironical that in the Arabic language the appellant’s name Asia means ‘sinful,’” read the judgment written by Justice Asif Khosa, “but in the circumstances of the present case she appears to be a person, in the words of Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘more sinned against than sinning.’”

 

The radicals, however, have remained bloodthirsty from the very day Bibi was arrested.

 

Prior to her acquittal, in Pakistan’s second-largest city of Lahore, hundreds of protesters gathered together and chanted “Hang infidel Asia.” Sickeningly, the hashtag #HangAsiaDefend295C was trending among the religious extremists on Twitter, with the “295C” referring to section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code, which makes it a criminal offense to blaspheme against the Prophet Muhammad.

 

What Does The Blasphemy Law Actually Say?

 

According to the Penal Code itself, 295-B refers to the prohibiting of “Defiling, etc., of Holy Qur’an,” and 295-C is in reference to the “use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet.” Other violations not specific to Islam contained in Pakistan’s criminal laws include “trespassing on burial places” and “disturbing religious assembly.”

 

Those who have chosen to support Bibi’s cause have faced grave consequences. In addition to the threat against Bibi, her family and the justices involved in her acquittal, other prominent politicians have lost their lives in the pursuit of religious freedom.

 

In 2011, shortly after Bibi’s conviction, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was brutally murdered for speaking out in support of the wrongly convicted Christian woman. Shot dead on the streets of Islamabad, his own bodyguard was found guilty of the heinous crime and, though sentenced to death himself, he has since become a cult hero with a large shrine in his honor erected on the outskirts of the capital city.

 

Just two months later, Christian politician and outspoken critic of the blasphemy laws, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also assassinated — shot dead by the Pakistani Taliban as he traveled to work.

 

Do continue to pray for Asia Bibi as she does everything in her power to flee Pakistan.

 

CBN News Related:

 

Pakistani Authorities Stopping Asia Bibi From Leaving Country, Despite Asylum Offer

 

Top Pakistani Court Upholds Acquittal, Frees Captive Christian Asia Bibi

 

‘Pray the Lord Restores Her Completely’: Asia Bibi’s Road to Recovery and How Christians Can Help

 

Report: UK’s Theresa May Personally Blocked Asia Bibi’s Asylum Request

_____________________

LOOK OUT! I Committed Blasphemy in Pakistan

John R. Houk

© March 15, 2019

___________________

‘Everyone is Worried’: Asia Bibi ‘Very Unwell’ in Pakistani Safe House, Being Denied Medical Care

 

© 2019 The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., A nonprofit 501 (c)(3) Charitable Organization.

 

Support CBN News

 

CBN News

 

Persecuted Asia Bibi NEEDS ASYLUM after Release from Pakistan Prison


John R. Houk

© November 16, 2018

 

Asia Bibi & Pakistani Muslim Protestors

 

I have followed the plight of persecuted Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi for many years now. In case you haven’t heard of her, here is the simple outrageous circumstances Asia has faced for nearly a decade.

 

Asia Bibi (aka Aasiya Noreen) was sentenced to death because she defended Jesus to fellow Muslim laboring women angry Asia was drinking from a Muslim designated well (a description from a 2016 post):

 

Asia was raised in Ittan Wali, a small, rural village in the Sheikhupura District of Punjab, thirty miles outside of Lahore, and one day in 2009, she was picking berries in the sweltering heat, in a field with a group of Muslim women, who worked on the farm of Muslim landowner, Muhammad Idrees. Her family was one of only three Christian families in the village of more than 1,500 families

 

During this time, she was asked by some of the other women, to get some water for them from a well. On the long and dusty walk back, she took a sip of water from the vessel, and when the Muslim women discovered this they became extremely angry, and in an exchange, she told them: “Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins…. Our Christ is alive.”

 

After uttering these words that she used to defend her faith against the mocking co-workers who tried to make her convert to Islam, she could never have dreamed the shocking consequences that would follow.

 

The Muslim women began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

 

 

“Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into protective custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. Christians urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but the police claimed they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.”

 

After a lengthy trial, on Nov. 8, 2010, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. …. (FRESH CALL FOR RELEASE OF ASIA BIBI; By Dan Wooding [Intro by John R. Houk]; SlantRight 2.0; 5/17/16)  

 

She language in prison for eight years not knowing if the death sentenced would be carried out, fearing for her life from prison guards & prison inmates as well as existing in squalid conditions that threatened her life. On October 31, 2018 Pakistan’s highest court finally resisted Muslim death threats and overturned her death sentence due to inconsistent evidence. BUT the Pakistan government kept Asia languishing in prison fearing Muslim bloodthirsty Muslim rioting.

 

Protests among bigoted Muslims wanting to hang Asia Bibi for blaspheming their false prophet became rampant anyway. Indeed, the so-called religion of peace Muslims began attacking Pakistani Christians because the government was hiding Asia Bibi from Islamic Supremacist Muslim mobs:

 

Muslim Mob Burning Asia-Bibi likeness

 

These Muslims are so mad for the blood of one poor Christian woman, who has already suffered on death row for eight years, that they are taking out their bloodlust on random Christians within the country. This is a human rights abuse of monumental proportions, but you won’t hear a word about it from the United Nations or the world “human rights” organizations. They’re too busy looking for new ways to condemn Israel.

 

“Report: Unable to Reach Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s Islamists Attacking Random Christians,” by Edwin Mora, Breitbart, November 12, 2018 (Unable to Reach Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s Muslims Attacking Random Christians; By Pamela Geller; Geller Report; 11/14/18)

 

I am finding out from the National Review that the Pakistan government has finally released Asia Bibi from prison but – so far – has kept her and her family’s location secret from the Pakistani public.

 

Asia Bibi and family need asylum outside of Pakistan if their survival is to prevail. The so-called tolerant Brits and EU Multiculturalist governments have refused asylum because they all have admitted so many Islamic Supremacists into their nations, THEY ALL FEAR bloody Muslim rioting!

 

I have discovered that Senator Rand Paul has taken up Asia Bibi and Family’s asylum cause calling on President Trump to grant asylum:

 

A top Republican Senator has urged US President Donald Trump to grant asylum and refugee status to Pakistani national Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned.

 

Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was released from Multan jail earlier this month after the Supreme Court in its landmark decision acquitted her of blasphemy charges.

 

Senator Rand Paul said that he was worried that Bibi won’t survive and he personally took up the matter with President Trump last week.

 

“I’ve been fighting for them to free Asia Bibi. I’ve talked to the President about granting her asylum and refugee status here,” Paul told CNN in an interview.

 

A senior member from an American think-tank has also suggested that Bibi should request asylum.

 

“President Trump should invite Ms Bibi to come to America and request asylum. To do so would be just, moral and wise,” Clifford D May, president of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said in an op-ed in The Washington Times this week. (US Senator seeks political asylum for Asia Bibi; By PTI; The Indian Express; 11/16/18 12:44:33 pm)

 

Below is the National Review article that has a great update on Asia Bibi.

 

Further Reading:

 

Pakistani blasphemy law victim Asia Bibi released – The Australian

 

A Deadly Legal Limbo: Why Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi’s Life Is Still in Danger – CBN News

 

PAKISTAN: “Help us leave” pleads Asia Bibi’s family – Aid to the Church in Need

 

Pakistan blasphemy case: Asia Bibi freed from jail – BBC

 

JRH 11/16/18

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***********************

The Lessons of the Asia Bibi Case

 

By NINA SHEA

November 16, 2018 6:30 AM

National Review

 

The daughters of Asia Bibi pose with an image of their mother outside their residence in Sheikhupura, Pakistan, in 2010. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

 

Pakistan has released the purported blasphemer against Islam. Now what nation will have the courage to grant her asylum?

 

Asia Bibi, the Catholic mother imprisoned in Pakistan for nine years and condemned to hang for violating that country’s strict blasphemy law, has drawn broad sympathy throughout the West. Lacking credible evidence, and despite her denials, lower courts plainly yielded to Islamist pressure in making the illiterate field hand the first Pakistani woman to be given a death sentence for insulting Islam’s prophet, Mohammed. Then on October 31, Bibi finally received justice in an acquittal by Pakistan’s supreme court. But when she was released a week later, she found that mobs were baying for her blood throughout Pakistan — and, most surprisingly, that the West held out no firm offer of a safe haven.

 

Islamabad has given assurances that Bibi has been taken to a secret, secure location inside Pakistan, pending a permanent place of refuge. But her escape seems stalled. The West’s response so far of passive hand-wringing while Bibi faces mortal danger indicates more than poor planning; it shows a failure to fully comprehend the deeply radicalizing effects of the blasphemy taboo within the world’s second-largest Muslim nation — and the inroads it has made in the West.

 

Western leaders have consistently expressed concern for Bibi during her nearly decade-long ordeal. Human-rights advocates, such as the indefatigable Lord David Alton, who just last month met personally in Pakistan with the chief justice, have vigorously championed Bibi in the British parliament. Yet when the moment of truth arrived, London quickly decided it would not give her asylum owing to security concerns. The U.K. has its own radical Islamist leaders within its million-strong Pakistani community to worry about, including Anjem Choudary, paroled last month following a terror-law conviction. Lord Alton called the British decision “craven.”

 

In Paris, the city hall had an enlarged photo of Bibi by its front entrance when I last visited several years ago, and France has long been discussed as a place of asylum for her. But deadly Islamist attacks against Charlie Hebdo’s editors for blasphemy, and most recently against French Jews, make asylum there unthinkable. Last week Italy and Canada revealed their engagement in “sensitive” multilateral talks on Bibi’s case, but so far neither has offered an actual legal grant of asylum. Also last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized for Canada’s turning away the MS St. Louis and its 907 desperate Jewish passengers seeking refuge from German Nazis 79 years ago. Hopefully, he will apply the St. Louis lesson to throw a lifeline to Bibi.

 

recent appeal on Bibi’s behalf by 190 European parliamentarians demands her safe passage from Pakistan but says nothing specific about where she can go next. The European countries most welcoming to refugees — the Scandinavian states, Germany, the Netherlands — all have a recent history of Islamist rioting and murder over perceived blasphemy against Islam: by irreverent cartoons, Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s film on the treatment of women, a papal speech at Regensburg University, etc. Providing indefinite, round-the-clock security to a marked person such as Bibi would be costly, as the U.K. learned with Salman Rushdie. And Amsterdam has already had to withdraw much of its embassy staff from Pakistan this week following threats received after the nation granted asylum to Bibi’s lawyer and the Dutch politician Geert Wilders mocked the Muslim prophet on Twitter.

 

In a landmark blasphemy case in October, the European Court for Human Rights upheld an Austrian court’s conviction of a political activist on charges similar to Bibi’s, albeit they don’t carry the death penalty. For the sake of keeping social peace, Europe’s highest civil-rights court validated that country’s interest in criminalizing speech that “defames” the prophet Mohammed and in establishing a right to have “religious feelings protected.” The Austrian defendant had criticized the prophet as a “pedophile” for marrying a six-year-old; Bibi’s alleged insult is not disclosed, since repeating it would be deemed another act of blasphemy in Pakistan.

 

In truth, the anti-blasphemy movement went international several decades ago. After Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 against anyone connected with Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, several of its editors, translators, and sellers were either attacked or murdered in Japan, the United States, Norway, and Turkey. The Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation leveraged the 2005 Danish cartoon crisis to get Europe to police speech to protect Islam. Since then, the EU has adopted hate-speech bans on anything deemed Islamophobic by anyone. (Charges in the Austria case were brought by a secular magazine, not Muslims.)

 

Europe is trying to placate the Islamists by giving in on the blasphemy issue, but Bibi’s experience is a case study on how legitimizing religious speech taboos only fans the flames.

 

Bibi was arrested in 2009 after she triggered a dispute with Muslim women when she, an “infidel,” took a sip of water from a communal cup while harvesting a hot field. The Muslim women accused Bibi of blaspheming their prophet during the course of this heated exchange. At trial, the Muslim berry pickers gave conflicting testimony and were manipulated by a local imam — facts that were overlooked by the trial court and Bibi’s devastatingly inexperienced trial attorney but would be determinative for the supreme court. In 2010, Bibi was convicted and sentenced under section 295-C of the 1986 blasphemy law. For her own protection, she was confined in an isolation cell, where she cooked her own food to avoid poisoning.

With the blasphemy law already infamous as an oppressive tool for settling personal scores against Christians and other minorities, Asia Bibi attracted the sympathy of Punjab’s governor, Salman Taseer, and Pakistan’s minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti. Both were assassinated in 2011. The murder of Bhatti, a Christian, occurred with impunity, while Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of the Muslim governor, was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death, whereupon he became lionized as a martyr for the faith.

 

Qadri’s fans include a large part of the Pakistani lawyers’ association, whose members, in their trademark black suits, showered rose petals on him as he entered the courthouse. They volunteered by the hundred to defend him pro bono. In 2008, this same lawyers’ association was enthusiastically cited by the New York Times as a hopeful sign for upholding Pakistan’s “liberal tradition,” and as “perhaps the most consequential outpouring of liberal, democratic energy in the Islamic world in recent years.” But as lawyers rallied around the blasphemy issue, it became deeply illiberal. Saiful Mulook, one of the last of the true liberals, who represented Bibi in her appeal, had to flee for his life last week and go to the Netherlands.

 

Another figure inspired by Qadri is hardline cleric Khadim Rizvi, who organized Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), a burgeoning political party centered on fighting blasphemy against Islam. Last week TLP incited massive protests against Bibi in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi, paralyzing key transportation routes. To restore order, the government blocked cellphone service and social media throughout the country for three days. Prime Minister Imran Khan also reportedly gave Rizvi a chance to appeal the supreme court’s decision to release Bibi and promised to block her from leaving the country. Meanwhile, Rizvi has been calling for the murder of the judges, It’s not clear what the prime minister will do if Bibi gets an actual visa and promise of asylum from the United States, for example. So far he hasn’t had to cross that bridge.

 

Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Massih, told me two and a half years ago, after a conference — held in New York and sponsored by the Holy See — on persecution that Pakistan’s supreme court wanted to release his wife but, concerned about anti-blasphemy rioting, was waiting “until things cooled down.” The court, tired of waiting, finally released Bibi last week, and Pakistan’s ensuing descent into radicalism, wholly separate from the Taliban, has been on full display. Asia Bibi is the litmus test of whether the United States and the rest of the West are really willing to defend persecuted religious minorities around the world.

 

NINA SHEA — Nina Shea is the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and a co-author of Silenced, How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide (Oxford University Press, 2011).

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Persecuted Asia Bibi NEEDS ASYLUM after Release from Pakistan Prison

John R. Houk

© November 16, 2018

________________

The Lessons of the Asia Bibi Case

 

© 2018 National Review

 

National Review FAQ

 

Violence Continues as Pakistani Islamists Protest Christian Woman’s “Blasphemy” Acquittal


I am not surprised that Pakistan Muslims are so supremacist that they have reacted with such viciousness toward Asia Bibi due to the Pakistan Court overturning her conviction and I also expect Mullah egged-on violence against Pakistani Christians to follow (if indeed it may have already occurred and not yet reported by Western media).

 

If anyone has an update on Asia Bibi, such as a prison release date, health report, asylum in a nation outside of Pakistan, etc.; please email me at john.houk@gmail.com or those of you who know my private email – you can data there.

 

Below is an IPT report I found on the Asia Bibi situation.

 

JRH 11/2/18

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Violence Continues as Pakistani Islamists Protest Christian Woman’s “Blasphemy” Acquittal

 

By IPT News

Nov 2, 2018 at 9:15 am

Investigative Project on Terrorism

 

Thousands of Islamist demonstrators in Pakistan continue to violently protest the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was falsely accused of blasphemy and spent the last eight years on death row.

 

Protesters clashed with police, burned cars and disrupted traffic, blocking ambulances. Schools across Pakistan have been closed and a major zone in Islamabad is sealed off.

 

Asia Bibi was charged in 2009 with insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad after drinking from a cup of water before allowing fellow Muslim farm laborers drink first. After being beaten in her home, Bibi’s accusers say that she confessed to blasphemy. She was sentenced to death in 2010.

 

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned her sentence. For that, the Supreme Court judges “deserve to be killed,” said Muhammad Afzal Qadri, leader of the extremist Islamist Tehreek-i-Labaik party. But Bibi has not been released from prison, as negotiations for her safety broke down between the government and Islamists.

 

“Which government can function like this, blackmailed by protests?” asked Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, accusing the Islamists for “inciting [people] for their own political gain.”

 

Radical religious groups, including a charity founded by UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, vowed to join the protests today.

 

Public support for blasphemy laws in Pakistan remains high, driving a wedge between the ruling party and extreme Islamists stoking protests. And that sentiment is not limited to South Asia.

 

A Maryland mosque last year praised the terrorist who killed a former Pakistani governor critical of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Salman Taseer was targeted by radical Islamists after he defended Bibi. In 2011, his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri shot and killed him.

 

American Islamist groups said nothing about Taseer’s killing.

 

After Qadri was executed for the killing in 2016, the Gulzar E Madina mosque hosted a celebration in his memory, “attended by dozens of people including young children and teenagers.”

 

Radical Islamists in Pakistan, whether organized terrorist groups or mobs of people, often take matters into their hands.

 

In April 2017, a violent mob beat to death a university student who faced a blasphemy accusation that investigators later deemed false.

 

Sunni terrorist groups connected to extremist Pakistani organizations last year targeted minorities in several deadly attacks including Ahmadi Muslims, the Shi’a Hazara community, and Christians.

 

In December, for example, Islamic State terrorists killed nine civilians in a targeted attack involving a suicide bomber against a Methodist church in Quetta.

 

Pakistan has charged about 1,000 people with blasphemy since 1987, and convictions can carry the death penalty. These laws especially target members of Pakistan’s minority communities. But the law can be also applied to anyone that is seen as a threat to the government.

 

According to the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, civil society organizations “reported lower courts often failed to adhere to basic evidentiary standards in blasphemy cases.”

 

Asia Bibi’s acquittal highlights the plight of all religious minorities in Pakistan and the destructive power of radical Islamists across the country.

__________________

Support IPT in their efforts in spite of Multiculturalist attempts to block Conservative/Counterjihad info websites.

 

About The Investigative Project on Terrorism

 

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) is a non-profit research group founded by Steven Emerson in 1995. It is recognized as the world’s most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups. For more than two decades, the IPT has investigated the operations, funding, activities and front groups of Islamic terrorist and extremist groups in the United States and around the world. It has become a principal source of critical evidence to a wide variety of government offices and law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Congress and numerous public policy forums. Research carried out by the IPT team has formed the basis for thousands of articles and television specials on the subject of radical Islamic involvement in terrorism, and has even led to successful government action against terrorists and financiers based in the United States.

 

The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Tax deductible contributions should be made to its fund-raising arm, the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

 

Founder and executive director Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and author. Consulted by the White House, National Security Council, FBI, Justice Department, Congress and intelligence agencies, Mr. Emerson is in great demand as one of the most astute, insightful and knowledgeable experts in the world today on the threat and prospects of militant Islamic terrorism. He has been quoted in more than 500 news articles and has appeared frequently on network television. His 2002 best-selling book, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us, provides the first context and understanding for how one of the most notorious terrorist groups in the world could have plotted the worst terrorist attack on American soil without detection or scrutiny by American authorities.

 

What others say about Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism: READ THE REST

 

Pakistan Court Overturns Asia Bibi Death Sentence!


Now That’s Some All Saints Day News

 

John R. Houk

© November 1, 2018

For nearly a decade Pakistan Christian Asia Bibi has been on death row for drinking water from – get this – a Muslim-only well. But her death sentence was allegedly she denigrated Muhammad in favor of Jesus.

 

A Muslim-only well! Shades of egregious civil rights practices which have long been outlawed in the USA. As to whatever she may or may not have said about Mo, That dude was an evil ruffian-pirate-rapist-mass murderer-sex slaver and probably more than I can think of, in the name of a fabricated religion created to justify such godless evil actions.

 

YUP! In Pakistan I’d be on death row for writing the truth (according Muslim writings BY-THE-WAY).

 

But Asia Bibi has denied she has made any denigrating remarks about the Muslim Mo false prophet.

 

YESTERDAY I found out Asia Bibi was acquitted when Pakistan’s High Court overturned Asia near decade long death sentence. Here are the details according to the Gatestone Institute below.

 

JRH 11/1/18

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Pakistan: Asia Bibi Acquitted After Years Awaiting Death for “Blasphemy”

 

By Giulio Meotti

October 31, 2018 at 5:00 am

Gatestone Institute

 

  • Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 because she is a Christian and because she was thirsty. Today, justice was served when her conviction was overturned.

 

  • Now, Bibi may be targeted for assassination when she is released. Islamists have placed a bounty on her head of 50 million rupees ($375,000). Salman Taseer, a brave Muslim who was governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was murdered just for expressing support for her. Pakistan’s federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also murdered for defending Bibi.

 

  • Lawyers defending Christians and others accused of blasphemy are sometimes murdered as well.

 

  • In the ultimate irony, just a few days ago, the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld this same blasphemy law. The ECHR ruling is unspeakable. It is time to remove the unelected judges of that unaccountable and unappealable court.

 

Asia Bibi and two of her five children, pictured prior to her imprisonment on death row in 2010 for “blasphemy.”

 

After 3,422 days of cruel and unjustified imprisonment as “the first woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy,” the death penalty verdict against Asia Noreen Bibi has finally been overturned.

 

Pakistan’s Supreme today set aside the death sentence against Bibi, a Roman Catholic mother of five. After being convicted in a trial in 2010 for false accusations of “blasphemy”, now justice has actually prevailed. Killing Bibi because her Muslim co-workers were offended that she, an “unclean” Christian, drank water from a communal well, was too much even for Pakistan, where Christians are habitually persecuted.

 

Bibi is now being “held at an undisclosed location for security reasons.” Islamist hardliners have already threatened the judges that if she is freed, those responsible would meet a “horrible” end.

 

On June 14, 2009, Asia Bibi drank water from a communal well on a hot day, while working in a field. Two Muslim women alleged that because she, a Christian, had touched the water from the well, the entire well was now haram (forbidden by Islamic law). Asia responded by saying “I think Jesus would see if differently from Mohammed,” that Jesus had “died on the cross for the sins of mankind,” and asked, “What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?” This enraged the other women, who pushed and spit on her.

 

Five days later, as she worked in another field, a crowd of “dozens of men and women,” calling for Bibi’s death, beat her savagely and carried her to the village, where police arrested her. Qari Muhammad Sallam, the village imam (who had not been present at the water dispute), and the women who said Bibi had defiled the well-water, told the police chief that Bibi had “insulted the Prophet Mohammed.”

 

On November 8, 2010, after just five minutes of deliberation, Asia Noreen Bibi, under Article 295 of Pakistan’s Penal Code, was sentenced to death by hanging.

 

Asia Bibi was sentenced to death because she is a Christian and because she was thirsty.

 

Islamists cheered the verdict. Asia Bibi was alone against an entire country ready to sacrifice its weak Christian minority to appease the Islamists. After Bibi’s arrest, her family moved houses 15 times in five years. In the last weeks there have been reports of Asia suffering dementia. Eight years of solitary confinement, with the daily risk of being murdered in prison, have been a brutal form of psychological torture. For fear of being poisoned in prison, Bibi was allowed even to prepare her own meals.

 

A few days ago, during the plenary meeting in Strasbourg, the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said:

 

“Asia Bibi enraged some women for having drunk from a well. According to those women, such contact with Christian lips would have contaminated the water. After being attacked and reported for blasphemy, Asia Bibi risks being hanged. I ask the Pakistani authorities… to make sure that woman can have a fair trial and to avoid any form of discrimination or religious prejudice.”

 

Now, we must fear that when Bibi is released, she will be targeted for assassination. Islamists have placed a bounty on her head of 50 million rupees ($375,000).

 

Salman Taseer, a brave Muslim who was governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, paid with his life just for expressing support for Asia; he was murdered by his own bodyguard, who said “he did this because Mr Taseer recently defended the proposed amendments to the blasphemy law.” In another example of justice prevailing, his murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed.

 

However, lawyers defending Christians and others accused of blasphemy in Pakistan are sometimes murdered as well. Pakistan’s federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also murdered for defending Bibi. Although no one has even been officially executed in Pakistan for the crime of blasphemy, “many have been murdered purely on the basis of accusations against them”, Newsweek reported. According to Human Rights Watch, since 1990 at least 60 people accused of blasphemy have been murdered. Last year, a student was lynched by a mob for allegedly committing blasphemy.

 

Thousands of extremist Muslims rallied in Pakistan in the last few weeks in order to pressure judges to uphold the death sentence. They chanted “Hang infidel Asia” as they marched through the streets. Now Pakistani Islamists say that the judges who acquitted Asia Bibi “deserve death“. That is why Bibi now needs to flee the country. Several countries have already offered her asylum.

 

Since Asia Bibi was condemned to death, Christians in Pakistan have suffered a string of especially deadly terror attacks. An Islamist suicide bomber even targeted and slaughtered Christian children at a playground in a public park. Where was the West?

 

French priest Pierre-Hervé Grosjean asked in Le Figaro:

 

“How could the country of human rights be silent in the face of this injustice? … How can one want to save the Christians of Iraq from the barbarians of ISIS, if one is not able to save a Christian from the laws of an allied country?… Non-believing friends, her fate also concerns you: through her, it is the freedom and the dignity of each one that you defend. Your word is precious and courageous. Your silence would be terrible”.

 

But the silence has been terrible.

 

No one took the streets of Europe to protest Asia Bibi’s imprisonment. No major Western columnist penned articles proclaiming “Je Suis Asia Bibi.” Western secular human rights groups, always ready and willing to embrace any cause, largely remained missing in action. The campaigners to free terrorists from a relatively comfortable prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had no time to ask for Asia Bibi’s release. No feminist organization supported this Christian mother. The United Nations, which just condemned France for its law banning the niqab, also stood silent. It was a conspiracy of cowardice. [Bold Text Blog Editor’s]

 

After years in a windowless cell, Asia Bibi has triumphed over her would-be executioners. Injustice against Christians will continue, however, along with the West’s craven silence in the face of their persecution. Asia Bibi’s case is also the story of the West’s moral suicide.

 

Where have our philosophers, humanists and journalists been during these last nine years of injustice? It is this sad indifference that is devouring the West.

 

In the ultimate irony, just a few days ago, the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld the same sort blasphemy law. The ECHR ruling is unspeakable. As Grégor Puppinck, head of the European Centre for Law and Justice, said, “the decision by the ECHR would have justified the conviction of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons…” It is time to remove the unelected judges of that unaccountable and unappealable court.

 

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

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Pakistan Court Overturns Asia Bibi Death Sentence!

Now That’s Some All Saints Day News

 

John R. Houk

© November 1, 2018

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Pakistan: Asia Bibi Acquitted After Years Awaiting Death for “Blasphemy”

 

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. 

 

The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute. [Blog Editor: I did not ask for said permission. Upon any request or demand from GI, this portion of the post will be removed.]

 

Pakistani Christians: Voiceless and Leaderless


Several days ago, Shamim shared about the U.S./Pakistan foreign affairs dispute over the State Department placing Pakistan on a special watch list relating to violations of religious freedom.

 

Shamim is a brave Pakistani Christian willing to criticize Pakistan’s lack of human rights against religious minorities. In Pakistan if you are not a Sunni Muslim, you can expect horrid discrimination up to and including violence, rape or even murder. Pakistani victims of this designation are often ignored in the legal system and oft times face the law for reporting victimizing crimes.

 

JRH 1/11/18

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Pakistani Christians: Voiceless and Leaderless

 

By SHAMIM MASIH

Sent 1/8/2018 10:03 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: There is an uproar in Pakistan after placing its name on a Special Watch List by the United States on the issue of religious freedom and Pakistan rejected U.S. decision and considered it as “Politically motivated”. Pakistan said on Friday that it “rejects the U.S. designation” and that the report is “not based on objective criteria”. “This placement on special watch list is a new categorization and we would be seeking clarification from the U.S. regarding its rationale and implications,” a statement from Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

 

“It is surprising that countries that have a well-known record of systematic persecution of religious minorities have not included in the list,” the statement added. “This reflects the double standards and political motives behind the listing and hence lacks credibility.”

 

Earlier in a statement, issued on Thursday, January 4, 2018, the U.S. state department added Pakistan to a Special Watch List, while re-designating a group of other countries as being of “particular concern” on the issue of religious freedom. The State Department spokesman, Heather Nauert said in a statement that the number of governments infringe upon individuals’ ability to adopt, change, or renounce their religion or belief.” “In for too many places around the globe, people continue to be persecuted, unjustly prosecuted, or imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief”.

 

Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the U.S. annually designates countries of particular concern, and Thursday’s statement re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. “The Secretary also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom,” Nauert said.

 

Let me tell you; though it makes no difference if the U.S. places Pakistan on a Special Watch list, but there are some facts which cannot be denied. Pakistan was declared an Islamic Republic where both the President and Prime Minister were required to be Muslims and Islam was the state religion. It promotes a certain Islamic mindset and the constitution called for the setting up of a Council of Islamic Ideology, comprising religious scholars and experts, to enforce the repugnancy clause. And number of discriminatory laws e.g. blasphemy laws are added in the constitutions against religious minorities and thus minorities are being targeted and facing challenges in Pakistan.

 

Now it is not only the matter of religious freedom for minorities but women are also suffering the same. Pakistan is the fourth worst country for women according to recently released ranking of the Women, Peace and Security Index. Isn’t it a fact that minorities in Pakistan are being unjustly prosecuted, or imprisoned for exercising their rights to freedom of religion or belief? According to the World Report 2017, at least 19 people remained on death row after being convicted under Pakistan’s blasphemy law and hundreds awaited trial. Most of those facing blasphemy are members of religious minorities, often victimized by these charges due to personal disputes. The government continued to actively encourage legal and procedural discrimination against members of the Christians and Ahmadi religious community by failing to repeal discriminatory laws. Most recently, a week before Christmas celebrations two suicide bombers attacked a Church packed with worshipers on Sunday in Quetta, killing at least nine people and injuring at least 35 others, several critically.

 

Suspects accused have no hope

 

Earlier former parliamentarian raised question on unequal, unjust role of law by the judiciary and authorities. Pakistan Today reported, “Former MP, Sindh Assembly Saleem Khokhar has demanded the release of 40 suspects in the Youhanabad lynching incident in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Khokher said that just like the Faizabad agreement, where all the cases were dropped against the protesters, the Youhanabad suspects should be released as soon as possible.” “Just because we don’t have weapons and that we are a minority, the state won’t do an agreement with us,” he questioned? He demanded that the same law should be applied to the Tehrik-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Chief Khadim Rizvi and his supporters. They were involved in killing a police officer and beating several others, while also harming the state property, why were they all released? Since I am writing this there is no response from the authorities yet and two of the suspects [Indaryas Ghulam & Usman Masih] of Youhanabad have died during their custody and third one on the row.

 

The Christian community is one of the most persecuted minorities in Pakistan with a sudden surge in riots, mob lynching, target killings and bomb blasts targeting their congregations and Churches in the recent decade. And there is no rule of law and freedom and manifestation of religion and expression. This is very unfortunate that this community either cannot produce any visionary leader to fight for their rights or there are many so called leaders and thus they remained voiceless since partition of the subcontinent. However, I feel that there is a bigger need to look inward to ensure the rights and freedom of religious minorities, especially Christians.

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. First contact Shamim in case he has found an easy way to donate. I like to use Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination of Islamabad (Contact Shamim in case he has changed cities). Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

Diplomatic Correspondents

Online Int’l News Networks

Daily Jinnah & Daily Morning Mail

Journalist, Blogger and

Social Reformer

_________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Any text enclosed by brackets as well as source links are by the Editor. Also, the Editor used Spellcheck.

 

A few words from Shamim perhaps from 2016:

Greetings to you! Let me introduce myself first, though many of you are witness to my professional work. I am the only Christian journalist in this arena with diverse work experience with different media outlets like Independent News Pakistan (INP), as columnist with “Daily Times” for two years, two years with one of the leading Urdu daily, “Khabrain” & Channel 5, Daily Mail and now with Pakistan Today. I have been working as lead Reporter for “British Pakistani Christian Association” since 2010. As stringer I have worked with BBC world service. Being a Christian journalist, I have been writing on minority rights and working as a social reformer/peace maker as well.

 

Persecuted Pakistan Christian Sakharov Prize Nominee


John R. Houk

© September 19, 2017

 

Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian that has been languishing in a Pakistani jail for a better of a decade wondering if the Pakistan government will ever proceed on the death sentence passed against her for breaking the anti-religious freedom Blasphemy Law.

 

Asia has been nominated for a prestigious award from the EU that I pray places more pressure on the Pakistan government to release her with the ability of Asia Bibi and family to receive political asylum in a more civilized nation. The award is called the Sakharov Prize.

 

About the Sakharov Prize:

 

The European Parliament also supports human rights through the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, established in 1988.  The prize is awarded to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause. (The European Parliament supports human rights; European Parliament)

 

The nominees were announced on September 14, 2017. Here is the nominee list which Asia Bibi is listed first:

 

The nominees for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are:

Asia Bibi (Aasiya Noreen), a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 under the country´s blasphemy law. Bibi is on a death row for almost seven years and her appeal to the supreme court has been postponed to an undetermined date. She was nominated by ECR.

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, a human rights defender from Guatemala. She is a member from the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples (CPK), an organisation that fights to protect natural resources and human rights from the expansion of mining, logging, hydroelectric and agro-industry sectors in the territory and has been subject to threats. She was nominated by Greens/EFA.

Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-chairs of the pro-kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey arrested in November 2016 on terrorism charges after their parliamentary immunity was lifted. They were nominated by GUE/NGL.

Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González. The situation in Venezuela has been seriously deteriorating as regards democracy, human rights and socio-economy, in a climate of growing political and social instability. Nominated by EPP and ALDE. Political prisoners in Venezuela as well as the democratic opposition in Venezuela were also shortlisted for the Sakharov Prize in 2015.

Dawit Isaak, a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer, who was arrested in 2001 by the Eritrean authorities during a political crackdown. He has been imprisoned without a trial since and was last seen in 2005. Isaak was Sakharov finalist in 2009. He was nominated by S&D as well as by Wikström and 46 other MEPs.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a Burundian human rights activist and founder of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH). He was detained in 2014, escaped an assassination attempt in 2015 and is now living in Belgium. He was nominated by EFDD. (Sakharov Prize 2017: discover the nominees; EU affairs; 9/14/17 18:05)

 

 

In case you have been out of the loop or have forgotten the idiotic reason for Asia’s death sentence, here is an excerpt from a past post which was dated 7/25/15:

 

The women said in their charge that Bibi asked “My Christ died for me, what did Muhammad do for you?” — a statement considered blasphemous in the South Asian country. (Bold Text Mine Christian Post)

 

 

Asia life behind bars has not been a bowl of strawberries and cream. Check out this excerpt from a New York Post article in 2013 that encouraged people to buy Asia’s memoir to help her now persecuted family and to pay Pakistan lawyers to working legal issues for an appeal:

 

To her neighbors, Aasiya Noreen “Asia” Bibi, a poor mother of five in the tiny village of Ittan Wali in central Pakistan, was guilty — guilty of being Christian in a nation that is 97% Muslim. For four years she has languished in a prison cell for this, facing death by hanging.

Her new memoir, “Blasphemy,” was dictated to her husband from jail, who relayed it to French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet. Fifty percent of the proceeds the book will go to support Bibi and her family. Tollet says the situation is dire. 

 Embarrassed by Bibi’s case but still refusing to release her because of angry protests by extremists, the Pakistan government has transferred her to a more remote prison, hoping the 42-year-old dies quietly behind bars, perhaps poisoned by another inmate. Already two government officials who have spoken out on her behalf have been murdered, including Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, who was killed by the Taliban. In this excerpt, Bibi explains the simple “transgression” that led to her plight.

 

 

 I want the whole world to know that I’m going to be hanged for helping my neighbor. I’m guilty of having shown someone sympathy. What did I do wrong? I drank water from a well belonging to Muslim women, using “their” cup, in the burning heat of the midday sun.

 I, Asia Bibi, have been sentenced to death because I was thirsty. I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.

 That day, June 14, 2009, is imprinted on my memory. I can still see every detail.

 That morning I got up earlier than usual, to take part in the big falsa-berry harvest. I’d been told about it by Farah, our lovely local shopkeeper. “Why don’t you go falsa picking tomorrow in that field just outside the village? You know the one; it belongs to the Nadeems, the rich family who live in Lahore. The pay is 250 rupees.”

When I got to the field, around 15 women were already at work, picking away, their backs hidden by the tall bushes. It was going to be a physically exhausting day in such heat, but I needed those 250 rupees.

A hard-faced woman dressed in clothes that had been mended many times came over to me with an old yellow bowl.

 “If you fill the bowl you get 250 rupees,” she said without really looking at me.

 I looked at the huge bowl and thought I would never finish before sunset. Looking at the other women’s bowls, I also realized mine was much bigger. They were reminding me that I’m a Christian.

 The sun was beating down, and by midday it was like working in an oven. …

 But since the river was nowhere near, I freed myself from my bushes and walked over to the nearby well. Already I could sense the coolness rising up from the depths.

 I pull up a bucketful of water and dip in the old metal cup resting on the side of the well. The cool water is all I can think of. I gulp it down and I feel better; I pull myself together.

 Then I start to hear muttering. I pay no attention and fill the cup again, this time holding it out to a woman next to me who looks like she’s in pain. She smiles and reaches out . . . At exactly the moment Musarat pokes her ferrety nose out from the bush, her eyes full of hate:

 “Don’t drink that water, it’s haram!”

 Musarat addresses all the pickers, who have suddenly stopped work at the sound of the word “haram,” the Islamic term for anything forbidden by God.

 “Listen, all of you, this Christian has dirtied the water in the well by drinking from our cup and dipping it back several times. Now the water is unclean and we can’t drink it! Because of her!”

 It’s so unfair that for once I decide to defend myself and stand up to the old witch.

“I think Jesus would see if differently from Mohammed.”

 Musarat is furious. “How dare you think for the Prophet, you filthy animal!”

… (NY Post – 8/25/13 4:00am)

(Asia Bibi Gets Execution Stay – Now Push for Political Asylum; By John R. Houk; SlantRight 2.0; 7/25/15)

 

It’s been over two years since I posted the original excerpt above. As far as I know, NOTHING HAS CHANGED! Asia Bibi (or her less well-known name – Aasiya Noreen) is still languishing in jail.

 

The closest update I have found is from an online French Catholic publication called Aleteia which also publishes in English:

 

Condemned to death in 2009 for insulting Islam, the Pakistani Catholic is still awaiting her final verdict.

 

On June 14, 2009, Asia Bibi was thrown into jail. A year later she was sentenced to death for blasphemy, and since 2013, after two transfers, she has been languishing in one of the three windowless cells on death row in the southern province of Multan in the Punjab Penitentiary. A year after the Supreme Court of Pakistan postponed her appeal amid death threats by 150 muftis (Muslim legal experts) against anyone who would assist “blasphemers,” the case has not progressed by one iota. On August 30, Asia Bibi had spent 3,000 days in prison.

 

Her family lives underground. The only thing we know comes from her lawyer, the Muslim Saif ul Malook, who has visited her in recent months. He says she is doing well and is still hoping for her release. On the other hand, the Supreme Court seems to have forgotten the case, and has still not decided whether to confirm her death sentence or to release her.

 

During those 3,000 days Asia Bibi has never stopped praying and asking for prayers. As a tribute to this Christian who has become an icon for all those who struggle in Pakistan and the world against all violence in the name of religion, this is the prayer she composed last year on the occasion of the Easter celebrations, and which accompanies her in her detention:

 

Resurrected Lord, allow your daughter Asia to rise again with you. Break my chains, make my heart free and go beyond these bars, and accompany my soul so that it is close to those who are dear to me, and that it remains always near you. Do not abandon me in the day of trouble, do not deprive me of your presence. You who have suffered torture and the cross, alleviate my suffering. Hold me near you, Lord Jesus. On the day of your resurrection, Jesus, I want to pray for my enemies, for those who hurt me. I pray for them and I beg you to forgive them for the harm they have done me. I ask you, Lord, to remove all obstacles so that I may obtain the blessing of freedom. I ask you to protect me and protect my family.

 

After eight years of suffering, anguish and disappointed hopes, let us keep up our prayers and our actions of support for her, because through her we support all the persecuted Christians in their sacrifices. (Asia Bibi has spent more than 3,000 days in prison for blasphemy; By Isabelle Cousturie; Aleteia; 9/18/17)

 

The organization Prisoner Profile has a post tracking Asia Bibi’s Pakistan legal system difficulties/persecution with the dates 6/2009 through 5/2017.

 

Dan Wooding the Chief Editor of Assist News Service (ANS) sent the email alert notifying me of Asia Bibi’s Sakharov Prize nomination. Below is my cross post of that ANS article.

 

JRH 9/19/17

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ASIA BIBI NOMINATED FOR EU’S PRESTIGIOUS SAKHAROV PRIZE

 

By Dan Wooding – Founder of ASSIST News Service 

September 17, 2017 23:58

Assist News Service

 

Free Persecuted Asia Bibi

 

Free Asia Bibi campaign

www.voiceofthepersecuted.org

 

PAKISTAN (ANS – September 17, 2017) — Pakistan’s most famous Christian prisoner, Asia Bibi, has been nominated for the European Union’s high-status award, the Sakharov Prize.

 

Ms. Bibi, a mother-of-five, who is currently behind the bars waiting for a hearing of her appeal against capital punishment, was nominated by a group of European legislators.

 

According to Madeeha Bakhsh, writing for Christians in Pakistan (https://www.christiansinpakistan.com/), “Asia has been nominated for ‘Freedom of Thought’ by the legislators who form an influential group European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR). This European Conservatives and Reformists Group is the third largest group in the European Parliament,” she wrote. “The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), nominated Asia Bibi late on Wednesday, September 13.”

 

Sakharov on Time Mag Cover

 

Peter van Dalen, a Dutch European parliamentarian and member of ECR’s faction, ChristenUnion-SGP, said: “Her case is a symbol for others hurt in their freedom of expression and especially freedom of religion. It is good that my colleagues in the ECR and I continue to defend the rights of [Asia] Bibi and many others.”

 

Members of the entire European Parliament will soon be casting their votes in favor of their favorite candidate.

 

“If a majority casts [their] votes in favor of Asia Bibi; she could win the €50,000 ($59,670 USD) award for the Sakharov Prize, which is considered Europe’s most prestigious human rights award,” said Madeeha Bakhsh. “This award is named after Andrei Sakharov, a scientist and dissident hailing from the Soviet era.”

 

Sakharov died on December 14, 1989, and the award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg, France, on December 10.

 

Asia Bibi, a berry picker, was accused of committing blasphemy by her co-workers back in 2009. Later on, in 2010, a court in the Punjab district of Nankana found her guilty and she was sentenced to death by hanging, a verdict later challenged and upheld by a two-member bench of Lahore High Court in 2014.

 

Her appeal case is currently pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

 

“Supposedly her final appeal hearing on October 13, 2016, was meant to wind up the most high profile case of the country, however, it was delayed as one of the judges refused to be a part of the three member bench that was to hear the case,” added Bakhsh.

 

Salman Taseer meeting with Asia Bibi

 

She said that on the date of the hearing, Justice Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman, one of the three judges due to hear Asia Bibi’s appeal case, suddenly withdrew saying, “I was a part of the bench that was hearing the case of Salmaan Taseer, and this case is related to that.”

 

Asia Bibi’s husband (Ashiq Masih) and family

 

The judge was referring to the case of the then governor of Punjab, who was assassinated on January 4, 2011, at the Kohsar Market in Islamabad by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, who disagreed with Taseer’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law and his support for Asia Bibi. Qadri was later sentenced to death by a Pakistani Anti-Terrorist court at Islamabad for murdering Taseer, and was executed on February 29, 2016.

 

Consequently, the hearing was adjourned and Ms. Bibi is still on death row in her lonely prison cell.

 

Note: Christians in Pakistan is a non-profit organization and a leading source of news related to Pakistani Christians. They can be contacted by e-mail at: ChristiansinPak@gmail.com.

 

Photo captions: 1) Asia Bibi. 2) Andrei Sakharov on the cover of Time magazine. 3) Salmaan Taseer meeting with Asia Bibi after her arrest. Many believe that this meeting cost him his life. 4) Ashiq Masih, the husband of Asia Bibi with some of the children. 5) Dan Wooding

 

About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist, who was born in Nigeria, West Africa, of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, who then worked with the Sudan Interior Mission, now known as SIM. Dan now lives in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for some 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder/president of the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of numerous books. He has a radio show and two television programs, all based in Southern California.

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Persecuted Pakistan Christian Sakharov Prize Nominee

John R. Houk

© September 19, 2017

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ASIA BIBI NOMINATED FOR EU’S PRESTIGIOUS SAKHAROV PRIZE

 

** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please tell your friends and colleagues that they can receive a complimentary subscription to ANS by going to the above website and signing up there.

 

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About ANS, excerpted from a Hub Pages post linked from ANS:

 

The ASSIST news site gives you access to stories that are of interest to Christians worldwide, some of them would never be told without Dan Wooding’s help.  

 

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If you have a heart for missions and helping Christians around the world, get to know Dan Wooding and his work at ASSIST Ministries today.

 

Imran Firasat’s Journey and Mysterious Fate?


John R. Houk

© September 11, 2017

 

I came across a video with a sensationalist title sent from of all places I Support Israel: “Watch: Buddhist woman raped by sharia police in Pakistan as punishment for having a child”. Thank God the video does not actually show a woman being raped by Muslims.

 

The video is actually the Christian testimony and journey of Imran Firasat. Imran was born a Muslim in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In adulthood he met a gal from Indonesia (Jenny Setiawan) was a Buddhist in Pakistan. I had to wonder why a Buddhist gal would be in Pakistan where some of the most vicious Muslims live who believe in violently protecting the Religion of Peace from non-Muslim religions and ideologies.

 

Here’s a mystery I have grown weary of searching to solve. I have had difficulty finding anything Imran Firasat. The latest post I could find is dated 5/2/16 found at Jan Sandviks blogg, but the information is only up to date to 2014. The mystery is Imran has disappeared from normal Internet searches for a guy like me that only knows how to use Google, Bing, Yahoo and a few less known search engines.

 

The I Support Israel website sent an alert of this Imran video on 9/10/17. The Youtube video itself is dated 6/14/14. I have no idea of the reason a Pro-Israel website showing a three-year-old video to garner support for a person that seems to have disappeared from the Internet.

 

I can tell you the reason I believe you should watch this video. The summary of Imran’s story which I began above, is this: A Muslim falls in-love with a non-Muslim from another nation other than Pakistan. Sharia prevents marriage so they cohabitate. A child is born of the relationship in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Sharia police show up at the door and rape the mother of his child because she is a non-Muslim living with a Muslim. The incident challenges Imran’s belief in Islam. He eventually becomes an atheist. For safety, they move to Spain. Imran eventually converts to Christianity and becomes a Counterjihad writer. Spain exercise its idiotic Multiculturalist hate speech laws which always exonerates Islam of hate speech and convicts the critics of hate speech against Islam. Spain moves to deport Imran. Imran tries Norway. Norway doesn’t want him for the same reasons Spain wants to deport Imran back to Pakistan. A deportation back to Pakistan would be a death sentence for breaking the Islamic Republic’s Blasphemy Law. I probably left out some details but I think you get the gist of what happens to an ex-Muslim refugee in Europe and in the Muslim world.

 

The reason then for watching this video: to understand Islam and the idiocy of the West’s Multiculturalist Left to emphasize diversity over Western Culture that will lead to the West’s destruction.

 

ERGO, here’s the Youtube Channel’s version of Imran’s journey from 2014:

 

VIDEO: From Sharia suffering Muslim to Atheist to Christ

 

Posted by Light of Christ

Published on Jun 14, 2014

 

Please pray for Brother Imran: http://www.ibtimes.com/fighting-words/islam-critic-imran-firasat-i-am-going-die-1286539

 

If anyone can solve the mystery of what is going on with Imran Firasat or what has happened to him, please let me know in the comment section. I’d love to post an update.

 

My last post on Imran Firasat in 2013: “Are Western Governments Volunteering Dhimmitude?

 

JRH 9/11/17

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Robert Spencer Defends the West…


In America both the Left and the Right cherish Free Speech enshrined in the First Amendment. Or at least the First Amendment is cherished in the political spectrum’s right to criticize each other, but the Left questions the Free Speech ability of the Right to expose the truth of totalitarian issues supported by the Left. Why? Our Republic was established in rebelling against a totalitarian King between 1776 (actually battles fought in 1775 but Independence declared in 1776) and 1783 (Treaty of Paris). The Left pretends to be the Party of the People but supports Big Government control of society from top to bottom, aka totalitarianism.

 

With this all in mind, I think you will find Andrew Bostom’s book review of Robert Spencer’s “The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies)” interesting. It Points out that Islam is no friend of Free Speech and the irony of the Left trying to protect Islam from criticism.

 

JRH 8/2/17

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Robert Spencer Defends the West: ‘The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech’

 

By ANDREW G. BOSTOM

JULY 31, 2017

PJ Media

 

FILE – DECEMBER 25, 2013: The Egyptian interim government [sic] has declared the Mohammed Morsi led ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ a terrorist organisation. The action was taken in response to the bombing of the police station in Mansoura earlier this week, which the government has stated was the responsibility of the Brotherhood, despite denials from the group itself. CAIRO, EGYPT – DECEMBER 14: Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood chant slogans during a rally on December 14, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. Opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi staged final rallies in Cairo ahead of tomorrow’s referendum vote on the country’s draft constitution that was rushed through parliament in an overnight session on November 29. The country’s new draft constitution, passed by a constitutional assembly dominated by Islamists, will go to a referendum vote on December 15. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

 

A review of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), by Robert Spencer, Regnery Publishing, 2017, 274 pp.

 

———-

 

Twenty-four years ago, the late Mervyn Hiskett, renowned British scholar of the history of jihad and Islamization in sub-Saharan Africa, turned his attention to the looming impact of Islam on his own Britain and Western societies more broadly, including the United States. In his 1993 Some to Mecca Turn To Pray, he articulated presciently the Islamic conundrum now enveloping us, which requires an immediate response if we still cherish individual liberty:

 

As is so often the case when considering Islam, one has to concede the power of certain of its ideas. But when it comes to having these ideas advocated within our own shores, and as alternatives to our own insti­tutions, one must then ask oneself: Which does one prefer? Western secular, pluralist institutions, imperfect as these are? Or the Islamic theo­cratic alternative?

 

And if one decides in favor of one’s own institutions, warts and all, one then has to ask again: How far may the advocacy of Islamic alternatives go, before this becomes downright subversive? And at that point, what should be done about it? Finally, do liberal, demo­cratic politicians have the political and moral guts to do what is needed, or will they simply give way, bit by bit and point by point, to insistent and sustained pressure from the Muslim “Parliament” and other Muslim special-interest lobbies like it?

 

Robert Spencer’s concise, lucid analysis, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), validates Hiskett’s gravest concerns about Islamic subversion: the relentless campaign to abrogate our most basic, unique Western liberty — free expression. With characteristic erudition, attention to detail, and wit (see text box on p. 28, “Did Any Of Them Have Eating Disorders? Those Can Make You Crazy,” from this video), Spencer chronicles how free speech in Western societies has been dangerously eroded by what Hiskett aptly termed “the Muslim ‘Parliament’ and other Muslim special interest lobbies,” in full collaboration with statist Left cultural relativists.

 

The grotesque harmonic convergence between mainstream, totalitarian Islam — epitomized by Sharia “blasphemy” law — and the “democratic” totalitarianism of the Left, derived from Robespierre and the Jacobins through Communist ideologues and leaders Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, is an underlying, recurrent theme of Spencer’s urgent presentation. Indeed the latter, “Dr. Crankley’s Children” (per Whittaker Chambers’ acid 1948 discussion of the Communist legacy on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Marx’s manifesto), and their “softer” statist minions of our era, bear at least as much responsibility for the erosion of Western free speech as institutional Islam and its pious Muslim votaries. Spencer elucidates how, despite superficial appearances of being oddly conjoined:

 

… endeavoring to weaken and destroy the freedom of speech, leftists in the United States have found ready allies in the Muslim community. Many observers have remarked that the Left and Islamic supremacists make strange bedfellows: the former advocate a moral libertinism; the latter are attempting to impose a repressive moral code. What binds these unlikely allies is a shared taste for authoritarianism. Both parties want to stifle dissent, and in doing so both find themselves fighting the same foes. Why not join forces?

 

All 13 of Spencer’s carefully arranged, remarkably compendious chapters have germane (even pathognomonic!) titles, including 10 epigrams:

 

Chapter 1, “Just Stay Quiet and You’ll Be Okay”

Chapter 2, “Tailored in an Appropriate Way”: Can Free Speech Really Be Restricted in the United States?

Chapter 3, “Now Obviously This is a Country That is Based on Free Speech, but…,”: The U.S. Government vs. Free Speech

Chapter 4, The “Hate Speech” Scam

Chapter 5, “Peer Pressure and Shaming” to Rein in Free Speech

Chapter 6, “Is That Being Racist?”: Americans Learn Self-Censorship

Chapter 7, “Irresponsibly Provocative”: The Erosion of Free Speech From Rushdie to Geller

Chapter 8, “Can’t We Talk about This?”: The Death of Free Speech in Europe

Chapter 9, Catholics Against Free Speech

Chapter 10, “Not Conducive to the Public Good”: Free Speech Dies in Britain and Canada

Chapter 11, The New Brownshirts

Chapter 12, “The University Prides Itself on Diversity”: Administrators vs. Free Speech Chapter 13, “Facing the New Totalitarianism”: Fighting Back for the Freedom of Speech

 

Spencer traces the living Islamic law imperative to brook no criticism of the Muslim faith, or its prophet founder, to both canonical traditions of Muhammad and the Koran (9:14-15) itself, which exhorts Muslims to wage jihad to punish the “offending” infidels. Muhammad in effect created his own “Dead Poets Society” comprised of victims (men and women, elderly and young) slain at his behest by his most ardent early Muslim followers, for perceived “insults” to Islam’s prophet. Citing the contemporary example of the Islamic State of Pakistan (and the plight of Pakistani Christian, Asia Bibi), Spencer asks: to assure a “future free of offense to Islam,” what exactions will “our leftist politicians, media elites, and much of the Western intelligentsia” be willing to impose upon their own citizens?

 

For saying, “I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?”, a Christian woman named Asia Bibi is on death row in Pakistan, where “wounding [Muslims’] religious feelings” is a crime and blaspheming Muhammad is punishable by death. Pakistan doesn’t have the First Amendment. Americans in the United States are in no danger of execution for testifying to their religious beliefs. But the Asia Bibi case illustrates the utter futility of attempting to keep Muslims from ever being offended — unless we are willing to give up our right to freedom of speech entirely.

 

Americans should not be complacent about First Amendment protections. Reminding readers that the divide separating “treasonous and seditious speech and speech that is simply unwelcome to the government” has proven controversial throughout U.S. history, Spencer avers:

 

The Sedition Act [of 1791] and the Espionage Act [of 1917] demonstrate the U.S. government has placed severe restrictions on the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of speech in the past, and indicate that it could do so again in the future. This history also shows that the First Amendment protections of free speech are most likely to be curtailed in a time of serious and imminent threats to the nation. That time may be upon us now.

 

Spencer emphasizes one particularly alarming Obama administration reaction to the 9/11/2012 jihad massacre at Benghazi — “scapegoating a video [and subsequently the videographer] criticizing Muhammad” — which illustrates such curtailment, “placing the onus on freedom of speech.” He adds: “The unmistakable implication was that if only Americans would not criticize Muhammad, attacks of this kind wouldn’t happen.” Worse still, two days following Barack Obama’s surreal Islamic blasphemy law-compliant pronouncement to the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2012, that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” America’s first Sharia blasphemy law victim, Egyptian Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, producer of the Innocence of Muslims video, was arrested, declared a “danger to the community,” and imprisoned without bail. He was incarcerated for 12 months.

 

Devoid of First Amendment equivalent laws, governed by Left statists marinated for decades in cultural relativist claptrap ideology, and subject to the same forces of Islamization by Muslim immigrant populations, Western Europe, as Spencer demonstrates, including Britain as well as Canada, is even further along the trajectory towards self-inflicted full compliance with Sharia blasphemy law.

 

Perhaps the most illuminating and disheartening chapter of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies) chronicles progressive Western supplication to Islam since Ayatollah Khomeini’s February 14, 1989 fatwa condemning novelist Salman Rushdie to death for his The Satanic Verses, and its perceived insults to the Muslim creed and Islam’s prophet. Spencer provides an especially astute observation regarding a follow-up Khomeini fatwa denying Rushdie any leniency for repenting, and offering a reward for any non-Muslim willing to execute the beleaguered author:

 

The invitation to non-Muslims to murder Rushdie was significant: Khomeini was inviting non-Muslims to share Muslim sensibilities regarding Rushdie’s alleged offense, and trying to induce them to do so by the prospect of financial reward. It would take years for this invitation and foreigners and non-Muslims to kill Rushdie to evolve into the “shaming,” as Hillary Clinton would put it, of those who dared to decline to participate in the de facto implementation of Islamic blasphemy laws. Clinton’s “peer pressure an shaming” imperative demonstrated that, in the two decades between the Rushdie fatwa and her endorsement of UNHRC 16/18 [i.e., the United Nations Human Rights Commission’s “defamation of religion” resolution which riveted upon Islam and was aggressively lobbied for by the UN’s Muslims nation members], non-Muslims had become the principal enforcers of Sharia blasphemy law in the West.

 

Drawing upon his shared experience with journalist and activist Pamela Geller in the wake of the May 3, 2015 Garland, Texas, jihadist attack on a staid exhibit of historical and contemporary depictions of Muhammad, Spencer concludes:

 

It is not an offensive act, but ultimately an act in defense of Western civilization to show Islamic jihadists that their violent threats will not cow me and that I will not allow violent intimidation to rule the day, and that I will not offend them in any larger sense by treating them as if they were demented children who cannot control their actions and must necessarily kill in the face of being offended. It was the murderous jihadis who made drawing Muhammad the flash point of the defense of free speech, not Pamela Geller, and I.

 

It is they who, by their determination to murder non-Muslims who violate their religious law on this point, have made it imperative that free people signal that they will not submit to them. If we give in to that demand that we conform to this Sharia principle, there will be further demands that we adhere to additional Sharia principles. It is ultimately a question of whether we will submit to Sharia or stand up for freedom. At Garland we were standing. In the aftermath, it is clear a huge segment of the Western political and media elites are ready, if not eager to kneel, daring not to “provoked” their new masters.

 

A quarter century after Hiskett’s Cassandra-like warning about the liberty-crushing peril of acquiescing to Islam within Western societies, Robert Spencer has meticulously documented its most dire consequences: de facto elimination of free speech criticism of the Muslim creed — and, ultimately, free expression, overall. Spencer’s courageous and irrefragable analysis is simultaneously a tocsin of imminent calamity, and a clarion call to action in defense of free speech, our most fundamental, keystone liberty. Western freedom-loving citizens must help bring his message to American political and religious leaders before our liberties are transmogrified by the global Muslim “umma,” seeking unabashedly (since 1981) to impose “The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights,” i.e., Sharia totalitarianism.

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Blasphemy Law is Revenge Instrument in Pakistan


John R. Houk

© July 19, 2017

 

American 1st Amendment Truth is a Death Sentence in Pakistan

 

And yet another Pakistani Christian is being accused of blaspheming the false-prophet Muhammad as a tool of revenge in a Muslim/Christian argument.

 

Christians in Pakistan are treated as subhuman class of dirt even being denied proper avenues of education. Why? Because Muslims are taught in their revered writings – Quran, Hadith and Sira/Sunnah – that Muslims are superior are to ALL non-Muslims and those non-Muslims should be denigrated for refusing to believe in Islam.

 

Needless to say, equal justice for all people is something that is extremely absent in Islamic dominated societies.

 

The lack of justice and equal rights are particularly apparent in Pakistan’s society when Christians risk voicing their opinion that Christ is the Son of God and Muhammad is a false-prophet. This will get you beaten or killed by a Muslim mob or escaping public Muslim retribution, put in jail being charged with the capital crime of blasphemy.

 

Yet burning a Church, torching a cross or destroying a Holy Bible will not be treated as a crime in Pakistan.

 

The Pakistani Christian Shahzad Masih is finding this hatred of Christians on a first-hand basis.

 

I was first made aware of Shahzad Masih’s plight in an email alert from Assist News. I discovered greater details from World Watch Monitor (WWM) on Shahzad’s persecution. Some of the details differ. For example, Assist News has Shahzad as age 17 and WWM lists him as age 16. Assist News writes from the perspective of the mother listed as Hina Shafaqat. WWM uses the father’s perspective who is listed Shafaqat implying the last name of Masih. One should realize among Pakistani Christians “Masih” is a Christian honorific.

 

I am cross posting Assist News first for getting the story to me and then the WWM article which has better details.

 

JRH 7/19/17

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ISLAMISTS IN PAKISTAN ACCUSE CHRISTIAN MINOR OF BLASPHEMING ISLAM’S PROPHET

 

By Dan Wooding

July 19, 2017 03:39

Assist News

 

Shahzad Masih – Morning Star News courtesy of family

No motive given for alleged comment.

 

LAHOREPAKISTAN (ANS — July 18, 2017) – A member of an Islamic extremist group in Pakistan has accused a Christian minor of blasphemy after the boy had an argument with a Muslim, sources said.

 

Hina Shafaqat, mother of 17-year-old Shahzad Masih, told Morning Star News (http://morningstarnews.org) that her son had been wrongly implicated in the case by a Muslim colleague with whom he had a quarrel 10 days ago, and the family has not been able to locate him since his arrest.

 

Working as a sweeper at Shamim Riaz Hospital in Dinga town, Gujrat District, Punjab Province for the past nine months, Masih had an altercation with hospital pharmacy employee Ishtiaq Ahmed Jalali, she said. A senior medical officer at the hospital intervened and calmed the quarrel, but “Jalali nurtured a grudge against my son and has now plotted this case against him to settle the score,” she said.

 

“I’ve raised Shahzad as a devout Roman Catholic – I’ve never taught my children to hate people belonging to other faiths, which is why I am sure that my son is being wrongly accused of blasphemy,” she said. “The police arrested my son on Friday [July 14], and since then we have been trying to locate his whereabouts.”

 

Neither the Dinga police nor the Kharian police said they have him in their custody, she said.

 

“We have searched so many police stations but have failed to trace him,” she said, adding that police were torturing the family mentally by not disclosing her son’s location or revealing his well-being.

 

According to the Pakistan correspondent for Morning Star News, Masih, the oldest of five children, is the family breadwinner along with his father, a daily wage mason. Shahzad Masih went to school until grade four, after which his family could not afford to further education.

 

“We, and the family of my brother-in-law Rafaqat, had to relocate to a relative’s house on Friday [July 14] to avoid any backlash from the local Muslims, who are being instigated by an Islamist outfit,” she said.

 

More than 30 other Christian families also live in Mohalla Railway Station of Dinga town.

 

Dinga Police Station House Officer (SHO) Inspector Shahbaz Ahmad dodged questions about facts of the case, telling Morning Star News only, “The accused has committed blasphemy.”

 

Morning Star News stated that the police official did note that a First Information Report (FIR No. 273/17) was registered against Masih under Section 295-C, which calls for death or life imprisonment to those found guilty of blaspheming against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

 

According to the FIR, complainant Nadeem Ahmed – president of the Dinga chapter of Islamist outfit Tehreek Tahafuz-e-Islam Pakistan – alleged that he was sitting in his electronic appliances shop when Ishtiaq Ahmed Jalali came and informed him that Masih had uttered derogatory remarks against Muhammad. Jalali is also a member of Tehreek Tahafuz-e-Islam Pakistan.

 

“Upon hearing this, we sent a boy to Shahzad Masih’s home and asked him to come to the Popular Mobile Shop for clearing the issue,” Ahmed alleged in the FIR. “When Masih came there, we asked him about the accusation, to which he again started abusing and cursing the Holy Prophet. Some people who had gathered at the shop by then also witnessed the blasphemy done by Masih.”

 

Ahmed alleged that the Christian boy “managed to escape from the shop.”

 

Inspector Ahmad declined to comment on why he thought Masih had committed blasphemy or if he had admitted to it.

 

“You know very well I cannot repeat the blasphemous words,” he said, avoiding questions as to what could have motivated the Christian to do such a thing. He also did not offer any plausible explanation as to how Masih was able to flee from the scene in the presence of a large number of upset Muslims.

 

“Talk to the SP, because we just registered the case and forwarded it to him for further action,” he said before putting down the phone.

 

Repeated attempts to reach Superintendent of Police (SP) Maaz Zafar failed as his telephone operator said that the senior official was busy and would return the call later. At this writing, however, Zafar had not contacted Morning Star News.

 

Attorneys Riaz Anjum and Kashif Naimat from the Pakistan Center for Law and Justice (PCLJ) told Morning Star News from Dinga that they had offered legal and financial assistance to Shahzad Masih’s family as he was one of the main providers of income for the family, and his arrest had badly degraded their finances.

 

“The case is clearly fabricated, because the FIR does not state any motive for Shahzad Masih’s alleged blasphemy,” Anjum said. “It’s very unfortunate that Pakistani police book people in blasphemy cases before even trying to ascertain the facts. Now the boy will be made to suffer in prison like so many other innocent people who have fallen victim to the harsh blasphemy laws.”

 

He said that their investigation had corroborated the account of the Christian family.

 

“It is true that Masih had a fight with a pharmacy worker over a week ago, and the matter was resolved by a doctor,” Anjum said. “Local sources told us that Jalali bore a grudge against Masih, and he had connived with the complainant, Nadeem Ahmad, to settle his personal score with the Christian boy.”

 

+++

Pakistani Christian boy, 16, charged with blasphemy for discussing his faith

 

By World Watch Monitor

July 19, 2017

 

Pakistani Muslims call for the hanging of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010, at a protest in Karachi on 13 October 2016. That was the day Pakistan’s Supreme Court delayed her appeal after one of the judges stepped down.

 

A 16-year-old Pakistani Christian boy has been charged with blasphemy for talking with a colleague about his belief in Jesus, the second such incident in a month.

 

Shahzad Masih, 16, a cleaner at a hospital in the city of Dinga (near the religiously conservative city of Gujrat), was arrested on 13 July after his colleague, Ishtiaq Ahmed Jalali, accused him of insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad, a crime punishable with death in Pakistan.

 

A month earlier, on 15 June, Ashfaq Masih, 28, was arrested in the nearby city of Lahore for saying he believed Jesus to be the final prophet.

 

The latest incident took place at the Shameem Riaz Polyclinic. Jalali, who works at the hospital pharmacy, is a member of Tehreek-e-Tahfuz-e-Islam Pakistan, an organisation that strives to protect the name and honour of Muhammad. It belongs to the Barelvi school [Blog Editor: Barelvi extremist Islamism has developed according Left-Wing news site HuffPo] of Islamic thought, which is considered “moderate” and has even faced criticism from other Muslims for its “polytheism” of worshipping at shrines. Barelvis are known for the special respect they afford to Muhammad – more so than any other Islamic school of thought – and are chief supporters of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

 

Shahzad Masih’s father, Shafaqat, who works as a labourer, told World Watch Monitor that the argument related to who Christians worship.

 

One of the relatives of Shahzad Masih’s colleague Ishtiaq Ahmed Jalali, a leader of Tehreek-e-Tahfuz-e-Islam Pakistan, told a local TV station a day after Masih’s arrest: “If the blasphemer is acquitted of the charge then each member of our organisation would attack him.”

 

“My son told him that we follow Jesus and then their discussion became sour, at which point a doctor intervened and calmed them down,” he said.

 

The police complaint was lodged by another man, Nadeem Ahmed, who claims to have called Shahzad Masih from his mobile phone repair shop, which is beside the hospital, to ask him about what he’d said. In his report, Ahmed states that Masih repeated his “abusive words” against Muhammad and then fled.

 

Police reports in Pakistan, called First Information Reports (FIR), are often key in court cases, though the veracity of the claims in such reports is often the subject of contention.

 

Shafaqat Masih says that two days prior to the lodging of the FIR, his son’s colleague, Ishtiaq Jalali, told his son that Christians worship at the shrines of Muslim sages.

 

“My son told him that he didn’t know about this and he would ask me about it,” Shafaqat Masih said. “Then on 13 July, I was at work when he called me at around 4pm. He had returned from hospital but they asked him to come to the mobile phone repair shop, which is in front of the hospital.

 

“I told him that it would take me some time to get there, so he should call his uncle, Rafaqat, whom I also called on the phone to go to him. I arrived at around 7pm at the hospital, where they all had gathered. We tried to intervene, but they did not let us talk. Then they told us that they did not want to make the matter public and wanted to settle it amicably. At the same time, they kept calling others to join them and a large number of clerics gathered while we three were all alone [Shahzad, his father and uncle].

 

“One of the clerics told me that the head of a nearby madrassah had called them to the madrassah to settle the matter, after which the entire mob went there.

 

“[His uncle] Rafaqat and I also went there, but I sent Rafaqat to go inside along with Shahzad, who they had in their custody. The leader of the group argued that the crime committed by Shahzad was punishable with death alone. While they were discussing this, two police vans arrived. The chief policeman asked for Shahzad, but they were reluctant to give him up and only handed him over on the promise that the decision would be taken the next morning. As I was standing outside, I saw the police taking Shahzad along with them, but since then they haven’t allowed us to see him.”

 

The police chief, Shahbaz Hinjra, told a local newspaper that Masih was in their custody and that they were investigating the matter.

 

Former Punjab parliamentarian Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, leader of the largest Christian political party, told World Watch Monitor that he had personally investigated the matter and found that initial argument had centred over Shahzad Masih’s colleague’s attempts to convert him to Islam.

 

“When our people try to defend themselves and their faith then often it becomes an issue and later such cases are lodged,” he said.

 

One of Jalali’s relatives, Muhammad Saqib Shakeel Jalali, a leader of Tehreek-e-Tahfuz-e-Islam Pakistan, told a local TV station a day after Masih’s arrest: “If the blasphemer is acquitted of the charge then each member of our organisation would attack him.”

 

Pakistani Muslims line up to visit the tomb of [assassin] Mumtaz Qadri on the outskirts of Islamabad on 1 March 2017. Qadri was hanged in February 2016 for the murder of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who criticised Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and defended Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010.

 

Masih’s father says he and his family have been on the run ever since. “We don’t even know what to eat and where to live,” he said.

 

His uncle, Rafaqat, told World Watch Monitor that there are about 25 Christian families in the area and no such incident had ever taken place before.

 

The Tehreek-e-Tahfuz-e-Islam Pakistan website claims that no suspect has yet been awarded the death penalty under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, even though the Christian woman Asia Bibi has been on death row for blasphemy since 2010. The website also says that liberal Muslims want to amend the current blasphemy law and must be stopped – a key reason for the organisation’s founding 10 years ago. In April, a Muslim student was beaten to death in the city of Mardan following an accusation of blasphemy.

 

Several blasphemy cases have been registered before in Gujrat, one of the most conservative areas of the Punjab province. In August 2015, 15 Christians were accused of blasphemy after they used the word “apostle” to describe a pastor who had died years before. Then in July 2016, a Christian man was accused of blasphemy after a religious argument on the messaging service WhatsApp. Both cases are still pending in the court.

 

The Aasiya Noreen story

Aasiya Noreen, commonly known as Asia Bibi, received the death penalty in 2010 after she allegedly made derogatory comments about Islam’s prophet Muhammad during an argument with a Muslim woman.

While the two women were working together, the Muslim woman had refused water from Bibi on the grounds that it was “unclean” because it had been handled by a Christian.

The Muslim woman, together with her sister, were the only two witnesses in the case, but the defence failed to convince the appeals judges that their evidence lacked credibility.

In the High Court appeal hearing in October 2014, Bibi’s lawyer, Naeem Shakir, argued that the main complainant in the case, the local Muslim cleric Mohamed Salaam, had not heard Bibi blaspheme, and that his original complaint had been lodged five days after the women’s quarrel. Shakir argued in his appeal that during the trial the only reason given for this delay was “deliberation and consultation”, and said that Salaam had acknowledged this in court.

Salaam was filmed by an international film crew who made a film about Bibi in May/June 2014, saying that it is his religious obligation to defend the dignity of Muhammad and that is why he decided to be a witness before the court. He only heard Bibi allegedly confess to blasphemy when she had been brought before a village council several days after the quarrel.

Her other main accuser, Mohamed Imran, the owner of the field in which she worked, had not been present at the time of the quarrel either; he was away from the village.

Bibi’s case attracted widespread global attention, much of it critical of Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws, which critics contend are routinely abused as a pretext to settle personal scores. Two prominent Pakistani politicians were assassinated in 2010 after they spoke publicly in Bibi’s defence.

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Blasphemy Law is Revenge Instrument in Pakistan

John R. Houk

© July 19, 2017

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ISLAMISTS IN PAKISTAN ACCUSE CHRISTIAN MINOR OF BLASPHEMING ISLAM’S PROPHET

 

About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has two US-based TV programs –- “Windows on the World” (with Garry Ansdell) and “Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding” — which are both broadcast on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv/), and also a weekly radio show called “Front Page Radio” on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com).

 

You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please tell your friends and colleagues that they can receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above ANS website and signing up there.

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Pakistani Christian boy, 16, charged with blasphemy for discussing his faith

 

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Keep Shamim Reporting


Shamim Mahmood – Christian-Pakistani Journalist

 

Shamim has been the primary source in Pakistan demonstrating how Islamic Supremacism has been a devastating tragedy of persecution for Christians by the Sunni Muslim majority. Please take some prayerful consideration to support his oft times dangerous work as a Christian and Journalist in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

The best method to send funds to Shamim in Pakistan is Western Union (Name: Shamim Mahmood. City: Islamabad. Phone: +92-300-642-4560). For some reason my favorite money distribution method of Paypal is disallowed in Pakistan.

 

JRH 1/8/16

***************

Keep Shamim Reporting

 

By Shamim Mahmood [Masih]

Sent 1/8/16 12:28 AM

 

Hello Dear [Friend],

 

Greetings, I hope this email will find you in a good heath. I wish you a very Happy New Year, 2017. I report news that others dismiss and ignore. Please read and learn about my history and let me know how you can help me.

 

I’m an offbeat human rights reporter with a great deal of experience and a proven track record. I have an off and on perception of Islamic largesse in Pakistan. When terrorism strikes, I note the hypocrisy of a Constitution that stipulates equal rights for all Pakistani citizens regardless of religious faith. A Constitution that also stipulates Pakistan is an Islamic Republic. Pakistan that follows Sharia Law and enforces Blasphemy Laws that literally can lead to awaiting death sentences in jail, unless an observant Muslim mob kills the accused violator of the Muslim Blasphemy Law first. Due to the unacceptable and prompt reaction attitude prevailing in Pakistan, I have been facing many hurdles but kept on reporting on minorities issues parallel to my official responsibilities.

 

At the dawn of 2017, I conclude that there is no standard place for me in the mainstream work force.  The most good I can do for people is to keep writing and publicizing news, this is where I ask my friends and supporters to contribute a very small monthly amount to keep me out there.

I have supported religious minorities as well as the many victims of discrimination, police brutality, racism, sex abuse and other endemic problems through journalism for many years.  I see the human race as a single entity and I write on behalf of people countrywide.  I used to be a mainstream reporter but found this type of journalism restricting and frankly, over controlled by corporate interests.

Over the past years, I have devoted my time and energy almost exclusively to a number of subjects that most media ignored or reported with great bias.  An outline of my recent efforts includes …. The Gojra incident [Dawn & Express Tribune] that left the killing of seven Christian family members. The breaking story of Rimsha Masih who was a minor Christian girl accused of blasphemy. The twin blasts in Peshawar Church. A Christian couple burnt alive in Kot Radha Kishan. Zafar Bhatti blasphemy accused and still suffering in jail. Others accused under Pakistani Blasphemy include Asia Bibi, Sawan Masih and Nabeel Masih [Christians in Pakistan & BPCA]. And the Youhanabad Church blasts and many more.

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. I like you to use Western Union sending money with the destination of Islamabad. Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560 

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

 

Journalist, Blogger and Social Reformer
http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/ 

+92-300-642-4560

 

 

___________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Reference links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood