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

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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.]

 

KP Govt. Closed Six Churches Amid the U.S. placing Pakistan on Special Watch List


Shamim Masih writes about Islamic Supremacism once again persecuting Christians in Pakistan by targeting unregistered Churches with closure under the poor excuse of security.

 

JRH 1/20/18

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KP Govt. Closed Six Churches Amid the U.S. placing Pakistan on Special Watch List

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan (formerly NWFP)

 

By SHAMIM MASIH

Sent 1/19/2018 9:03 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhawa [alternate spelling: Pakhtunkhwa] (KPK) province in Pakistan has sealed at least six Churches in district Abbottabad in the name of security after the United States placed Pakistan name in the Special Watch List. The officials claimed that only non-registered churches are closed. On the other hand, the KP govt. has announced monthly honorarium for 20, 000 Muslim clerics in the province.

 

According to the details the district administration at Abbottabad has officially ordered to close as many as six churches in the name of security and said the churches being established in the rental houses and non-registered are closed due to security risk. The District Police Officer (DPO) Syed Ashfaq said in his official statement that those churches have been sealed which had not been registered with the Auqaf Department.

 

According to 27th Convention of the United Nations, Pakistan is liable to take steps for the safety, protection of minorities and women rights and religious freedom in the country. And on January 04, 2018, the US placed Pakistan name in the list of those countries which are alleged violating minorities rights and religious freedom. Being on the Watch List means Pakistan is a step away from included in the “Countries of Particular Concern” list. The list includes “governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

 

In the meantime, on January 8, 2018, KP govt. proved it that religious minorities are not free to perform their religious services at their homes and even cannot worship in the rental houses they live in. To a rough estimate more than 10000 Christians live in and around Hazara Division and 5000 in Abbottabad district. And many of them are bared to perform their ceremonial and routine religious services.

 

Meanwhile, the Christian community across the country have termed the move as unjustified. Father Arshad Nayer, the local priest from Roman Catholic denomination said, “it would give a bad message if the government continued to seal worship places of religious minorities over minor issues.” Instead of providing security to the said churches the administration is on to close them, and it is violation of religious freedom. The poor Christians do not have enough resources to construct independent new church buildings, he added.

 

Pastor Christopher Shakar, one victim [of a closed Church – perhaps], said that his father Akram Shakar has started the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church (EPC) in 1985, and now he has taken this responsibility for seven years. On the celebration of the Christmas, the district administration has interrupted during the sermon and asked to close the service. This is violation of religious freedom given in the constitution of country. Another church, Assemblies of God has been established some 50 years back and now Pastor in charge Saleem Ghori is running it in his own house is also closed under the said so called security risk.

 

Chairman Community Development Foundation (CDF) Basharat Khokher strongly condemned the move by the KP govt. and termed it prejudicial behavior toward religious minorities in Pakistan. Talking on religious freedom, he said that the step taken by KP govt. is discriminatory and biased; the KP government is paying billions of rupees to Muslim clerics in the province and shutting down Christian worship places. From this move, it clearly shows that there is no religious freedom in the country and government imposed restriction and tries to snub the rights of minorities.

 

When asked Shireen Mazari, a senior Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) leader and member parliament, she said PTI is very clear in giving rights to minorities and not in the favor of closing any worship places. PTI central secretariat has sought written reply from CM KP Parvez Khattak on the matter of closure of 6 churches in Abbottabad district. The CM has been asked to explain the causes and motives leading to closure of churches. In a statement chairman PTI Imran Khan said that all the minorities enjoy full freedom of religion under the constitution of Pakistan. He said the PTI believes in full freedom of minorities, adding that such steps by the provincial government create a negative impression in the international community.

 

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:

 

 

Shamim Masih 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Christians Fear to Attend Sunday Service


Shamim writes about Muslims of a community in the Rawalpindi area of Pakistan harassing Pakistani-Christians primarily because the Muslims find the Christian services offensive.

 

Shamim doesn’t really share the specific details of the Muslim Islamic Supremacism against Christian religious freedom. I found an article the Christian Times Pakistan that make the issues a bit clearer:

 

Rawalpindi Neighborhood Christians & Muslims Clash Over Religious Freedom (Photo: Christian Times Pakistan)

 

 

The complainants namely Muhammad Sajid, Rashid Akhtar, Afzal Hussain and Muhammad Sadiq have maintained that some Christian residents of the locality including Patras Salamat Masih, James Allah Ditta and others are carrying out church activities which are bothering them.

 

In an application submitted at the New Town Police Station, the complainants claimed that Patras and James have illegally formed a church in house right in front of theirs. “They perform their religious ceremonies three days a week (Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday).” The complainants claim that during the church services Christian youngsters are stationed on the street; who block the passage of lay people on the street.

 

Moreover, the complainants said that whenever a Christian dies, these congregants use the street for observing funeral ceremonies. They said that religious practices of these Christians have caused much nuisance to them. Furthermore, the complainants have stated that when they tried to approach the church’ administration they hurled death threats at us.

 

Sajid, Rashid, Afzal and Sadiq also claim that Patras and James were allegedly trying to pressurize them to sell their houses and leave the street. “We also informed the Union Council Chairman, Abid Hussain Abbasi,” they maintained in the compliant. They maintained that the Union Council Chairman had also advised them to sell their properties to the Christians and leave the street.

 

On the other hand, the Christians claim that on August 8, 2017, Sajid, Rashid, Afzal and Sadiq long with others arrived at the church when a prayer service was going on. Christians allege that the said people arrived with intent to attack the congregants and therefore the police was informed about the situation. (Bold text Editor’s — Rawalpindi: Tension arises between Christians, Muslims in New Town neighborhood; By  admin; Christian Times Pakistan; 10/3/17)

 

I used bold text to point out that Muslims often lie when it comes to the religious liberty of Christians. This is particularly so when Islamic Supremacist use Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law to eject or cause harm to Christians.

 

Here is Shamim Masih’s account below.

 

JRH 10/22/17

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Christians Fear to Attend Sunday Service

 

By SHAMIM MASIH

Sent: 10/22/2017 12:16 AM

 

RAWALPINDI: Christians fear of attending ceremonial services and Sunday service due to the threats of Muslims living in the neighborhood. Muslims disrupted church a service and wanted to eliminate the church building in the twin area of Rawalpindi, a twin city of Pakistan. Police are reluctant to arrest Muslims even after the attack.

 

According to the reports, a group of 13 people in the town area of Rawalpindi district filed an application against the Pastor Patras Salamat at the office of the district administrator “City Police Officer” (CPO) to shut down the church. The CPO Israr Abbasi ordered the concerned officials to take stern action against the church administration, the report said. The document available with the Covenant TV reads that Mohammad Sajid, Rashid Akhter, Mohammad Sadiq and others have filed an application against the Pastor Patras Salamat and James Allah Dita to stop the religious ceremony done by local the Christians around their houses and also wrote a threatening statement between the lines. Number of 13 members of the locality wrote an application to the district administration with their signatures underwritten and said that due to their Sunday service and the religious ceremonial; the Muslim community living around feels irritated and itchy. Therefore, they have requested the higher ups to remove the church from their neighborhood. The city administrator (CPO) ordered the concerned officials to take action and stop these activities, the document reads.

 

Application CPO

 

In talking to the Covenant TV Pastor Patras Salamat, he said the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church is a registered body under the constitutions of the country and was established nineteen years ago at the same place when his father Pastor Salamat purchased the land and started with the small building. And with the passage of time as the church grew, he purchased the nearby land as well. The Philadelphia Pentecostal Church is registered and the sitting Priest claimed that he obtain the written approval for the said piece of land for Church building from the local administration. On every Sunday service the police chief also assigned two police security at the venue. When the congregation gathered for the service, we also arrange our church volunteers to take care of the visitors and congregation as well.

 

A few weeks back, when the service was on and as soon as worshipers began worshipping, Mohammad Sajid and a few other Muslims arrived armed with guns and machetes to disrupt the Sunday service and shouted to stop the service. The church administration went to resolve the issue.  Later the local administration arranged a reconciliation meeting between the Muslims and members of the congregation. After a few days the Muslims again filed an application to the senior officials, he added.

 

Mr. Javed Youhana, a regular church-goer said that he used to attend the Sunday services since 1999 but he feels himself insecure while going to church since the Muslim in the neighborhood have threatened the Christians. Basharat Khokher, an activist said, “I live nearby but attend the service on regular basis with my family, since the attack on [the] church has created [a] sense of insecurity in me and many others. We live under constant traumatiz[ation] since the attacks began on Pakistan on worship places by the extremists. … For the most time, when I go to church I fear anything can happen anytime and I feel whether I will go back home (alive) or not.” [Blog Editor: Emphasis mine]

 

Taliban terrorists and extremist in Pakistan have been attacking worship places of the religious minorities across the country for the last two decades, killing hundreds and with thousands injured. Many of them are still living with their constant diseases and some are paralyzed due to these attacks while worshiping their God. There have been attacks on Shiite mosques and Imambargahs; Bohra worship places; Ahmadiya community worship places; Churches; and Hindu temples. Due to the situation, the minorities in general, live in the grip of fear even during the worship.

 

www.thecovenant.tv

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

 

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

+92-300-642-4560

_______________

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

 

Edited by John R. Houk

Text embraced by brackets are by the Editor.

 

Unedited version at Pakistan Christian Post

 

© Shamim Masih (Mahmood)

 

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.

 

PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609

 

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.  

 

Dan interviews people whether famous or intriguing every day.  He writes their stories, shares them on international radio shows, and videos as well.

 

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.