Thursday, December 2, 2010

Asia Bibi's Story

I've been watching the news about Asia Bibi like a hawk for a few weeks now. Here are all the details in a time-line format (the rest will be featured in consecutive posts as I hear updates):

Firstly, here is a brief synopsis: Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi was talking to some Muslim woman on the subject of religion when she was falsely accused of insulting Mohammad and the Islamic religion. Police detained her originally to protect her, but they eventually caved in to Muslim pressure and Asia is being sentenced to death on the charge of blasphemy. She has a husband and five children who are very grieved for her. Her family is now in hiding, but her husband pleads with the world to spread the word and pray.

November 8:

The VOM blog wrote:
Today we received some sad news about our sister Asia Bibi - Asia has been sentenced to death for blasphemy against Mohammed. Please pray for her and also for justice.

She has been a light for so many of us who have been praying for her while she has been in prison since June of 2009.
And Cross Ryhmes reported:
Release partners in Pakistan say the sentence is a crushing blow for Asia, who was hoping to be acquitted and return to her husband and children. They say: 'Although Asia has great courage, her dreams of release have vanished now. Please pray for her encouragement, strength and protection.'

Release partners plan to visit Asia in prison as soon as possible.

Release is also concerned that the passing of the death sentence against Asia Bibi could set a harmful precedent. In a separate case, Martha Bibi (no relation) is on trial in Lahore for blasphemy. Charges were brought against her in 2007 after a dispute with builders in Kasur, who allegedly refused to return equipment belonging to Martha.
November 17:

The Voice of the Martyrs issued a prayer bulletin, stating that "Official Says Asia Bibi's
Death Sentence Is Incitement to Crime." In fact, Pakistani law is being held in question; you can read the story here and sign a petition at the Cross Rhymes site. (You can also read of a similar case here.)

November 22:

Persecution Blog gave this report:

Over the weekend I found this story from the Associate Press concerning Asia Bibi. It appears, according to this report, that Asia MAY be freed.

Also, according to The Guardian news page it appears that Asia may indeed be pardoned because of some of the Pakistan officials believe she is innocent.

Hopes were raised today that a Christian Pakistani woman who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy will soon be pardoned, after government officials said she was innocent. The case raised an international outcry, including a plea for mercy from the pope.

Full story at the Guardian here.

Please keep on praying for Asia and all involved in the decision making process.
November 23:

Thirteen Three reported that Pakistani's unanimous vote, "Yes, she should be hanged!" according to a CNN report on Asia's case.

November 29:

Bibi's family goes into hiding (VOM Canada) reported:

Islamic radicals still on the war footing against the possibility of a pardon for the woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. The Taliban announces that they will oppose it in every way and the leader of Sunni council threatens "anarchy in the country." Her husband: "Asia Bibi fears for her family."

[AsiaNews reports] - The religious radicals in Pakistan have warned president against the risk of provoking a wave of public outrage if he grants a pardon to the woman convicted of blasphemy. This conflict highlights the government's difficult relations with the official relgion, in a country where few wish to be considered soft on the enemies of Islam. Religious fundamentalists took to the streets in Lahore and karchi Friday, November 26th to show their anger while the Pakistani government decides whether to grant clemency to a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. Many Pakistani Muslims feel offended by the notion that the death sentence of Asia Bibi could be revoked.

According to reports, the demonstrations were organized by an association close to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charitable organization that is banned by the UN because of suspected terrorist links. The chief cordinator of the JuD, Qari Yaqub, told protesters: "We will protest at the national level if the government forgivs the Christian woman." The head of the Sunni Ittehad Council, Sahibzada Fazal Kareem, told AsiaNews: "A pardon would lead to anarchy in the country. Our position is very clear, this punishment can not be cancelled." Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, deputy head of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has warned of serious consequences if the government graces the woman, who was sentenced on November 8 2010 for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. Faqir Muhammad, speaking from an undisclosed location to an international news channel, said that the Taliban will resist any attempt to pardon Asia Bibi.

December 2:

The Voice of Martyrs tweeted:
Muslims in Pakistan plan protests Friday against pardon for Asia Bibi. Please pray for Asia & her family & for Muslims there to meet Christ.

Please pray for Asia Bibi and her family. You can also help Asia Bibi by going to this page where you can not only send her an encouraging letter, but also alert government officials of her situation. Be a voice!

"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister." ~ Hebrews 6:10

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