Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/9/2011 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Blasphemy Law is an instrument of oppression with which Christians and other religious believers are persecuted by Islamic supremacists

When news of Asia Bibi's plight spread throughout the international media, it brought almost universal condemnation. Sadly, it did not last. Her courage and suffering for the cause of Christ was soon forgotten

Asia Bibi with her husband and daughters before wrongful arrest

Asia Bibi with her husband and daughters before wrongful arrest

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/9/2011 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Asia Bibi, Pakistan, persecution, blasphemy laws, Jihadi, islamic, Muslim, Deacon Keith Fournier


LAHORE, Pakistan (Catholic Online) - Zenit news Agency in a story entitled "Pakistani Christian Condemned for Blasphemy Tells Her Story"  reports that Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman wrongfully sentenced to death for an alleged blasphemy, has collaborated with French journalist Anne Isabelle Tollet, Bibi to write a book entitled "Blasphème" (Blasphemy). It was released on Sept. 7, 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal:  

"The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which collaborated in the publication, described the book as "an impressive account of this Pakistani who for two years has awaited the order to be hanged, simply for having dared to share a glass of water with other women."

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was sentenced to death by hanging simply because she is a Christian. Her lawyer filed an appeal of her unjust sentence and requested a pardon from the Office of the President. President Asif Ali Zardari had asked for a review of the facts of the case.It was widely reported that she would receive a  presidential pardon or commutation of her sentence.

However, on Monday, November 29, 2010 Khawaja Sharif, the chief justice of the Lahore High Court, issued an interim order ruling that while the matter is pending before it the President of the Nation may not issue a pardon for Asia Bibi.

Pope Benedict XVI and leaders from around the world have urged that this devout Christian wife and mother be freed. On November 17, 2010, at his general audience in St. Peters square, the Holy Father called the world's attention to the plight of this contemporary Christian disciple with these words:

"Over these days the international community is, with great concern, following the situation of Christians in Pakistan, who are often victims of violence or discrimination. In particular, I today express my spiritual closeness to Ms Asia Bibi and her family while asking that, as soon as possible, she may be restored to complete freedom. I also pray for people who find themselves in similar situations, that their human dignity and fundamental rights may be fully respected. "

As the initial news of Asia Bibi's plight spread throughout the international media, it brought almost universal condemnation. Sadly, it did not last and her plight and her heroic suffering for the cause of Christ was soon forgotten. This 45 year old wife and mother was sentenced to hanging by the neck until dead on November 8, 2010 for what amounts to simply being a Christian. The unjust sentence was rendered under Pakistan's horrendous "Blasphemy Law".

One portion of the Penal Code under which she was sentenced reads as follows: "Use of derogatory remarks, etc; in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine."

NBC news reported in 2010 that Asia Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, along with the couple's children,went into hiding in an undisclosed Christian enclave. He is convinced that the whole family has been targeted for death at the hands of radical Islamic groups.  Asked about the events which gave rise to his wife's  death sentence he told NBC news, "She was picking berries with other women, when she was sent to get water. One of the women refused to drink the water after my wife dipped her cup into the bucket. This woman said it was contaminated because it was touched by a Christian."

According to Masih, all the women then started taunting his wife, and shouting insults against her mother and their children. Bibi just repeated the same insults back at them. "The name of the holy prophet never came up.Five days later, the local cleric came to our house, followed by an angry mob, and dragged my wife away," he said, recalling the incident that took place in June 2009. They beat her, ripped off her clothes and accused her of insulting the prophet. Then they locked her up in a house until the police came to take her away."

Catholic Online has covered the story from the beginning. The "Blasphemy Law" is an instrument of oppression with which Christians and other religious believers are persecuted by Islamic supremacists. The use of such "Blasphemy" or "Religious Defamation" laws to persecute is not confined to Pakistan. It is an affront to the fundamental human rights recognized by freedom loving people around the world and revealed in the Natural Law.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it clearly, "Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order." (CCC #1738)

Asia Bibi must be freed and the so called "Blasphemy Laws" used to suppress the free expression of religious faith in Muslim Nations must be rejected. In the face of such an obvious attack on a Christian, all those who bear the name must speak out! We joined with Pope Benedict XVI and people of good will throughout the world and call for complete freedom for Asia Bibi. We will obtain a copy of the book and report on it as soon as we do. Hopefully it will rekindle a public, international outcry, to free Asia Bibi.

All reliable reports indicate that she is still in prison. A recent update on "Christians in Pakistan" reported that "A local Muslim leader has offered a $6,000 reward to anyone who murders Asia Bibi. The family of Asia Bibi is also getting death threats. Due to these threats Asia remains in her prison cell for 24 hours a day and she neither meet(s) anyone nor eat(s) food from the prison. She only eats the food which she made herself from the groceries provided by her husband."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Middle East

Pope Francis thanks Gaza's sole Catholic priest; tells him to 'have courage' Watch

Image of Father Hernandez and three Missionaries of Charity were the only religious left at Holy Family Church during a 50-day battle between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Father Jorge Hernandez, the Gaza Strip's sole Catholic parish met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, thanking him for his support of those suffering in the war-torn territory. Speaking to Vatican Radio, the 36-year-old priest says that the Pope continued to ... continue reading


Steven Sotloff beheading video, uncensored (WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Image of American Journalist, Steven Sotloff, has been executed by the Islamic State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has executed another hostage, this time beheading American journalist Steven Sotloff. A video has been released of the incident, but due to alleged self-censorship across the web, the footage has been suppressed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Islamic puritans threaten dissent in Saudi kingdom, asking King Abdullah to DESTROY the tomb of MOHAMED! Watch

Image of Wahhabi clerics are asking King Abdullah to destroy the tomb of Mohamed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recommendation from some Saudi clerics to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is creating controversy in the powerful Middle-Eastern kingdom. The proposal, set forth by hardline clerics, calls for the destruction of the tomb of Mohammed and possibly the shrine at Mecca, to ... continue reading


Paul Bhatti, Brother of Martyr Shabhaz Bhatti, Urges Pope Francis to Visit Persecuted Christians in Pakistan. Watch

Image of The Christian Martyr of Pakistan, Shabhaz Bhatti,

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The world should pause once again to consider the Christian heroism shown by Shabhaz Bhatti in 2011. At the time, Shahbaz Bhatti was the only Christian member of the Parliament of Pakistan. He was executed in cold blood by militant Islamists on March 2, 2011. He ... continue reading


World 'cannot keep silent about the existence of the so-called ISIS,' patriarchs declare Watch

Image of The recent summit addressing IS was presided over by Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Meeting at the Maronite Catholic patriarchate at Bkerke, north of Beirut, Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs convened for a special summit to address the crisis in Iraq and Syria. Later joined by the United Nations' special coordinator in Lebanon and the ... continue reading


U.S., Europe next on Islamic State's list to attack, Saudi king warns Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the world grows more appalled by the day about the inhumanities conducted by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warns that the west is not immune. A staunch ally of both the U.S. and its allies, Saudi King Abdullah bin ... continue reading


Fleeing imminent death, three million Syrians now registered in other countries. That's half the population of Syria. Watch

Image of A bride crossing the Israel-Syria border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement. As of this ... continue reading


Video shows rows of bodies as 250 Syrian soldiers DEATH MARCHED, forced to chant praises to their executioners before being killed (Warning: PHOTOS)

Image of Forced to chant praised to their executioners, jubilant ISIS terrorists killed approximately 250 Syrian prisoners.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has committed another atrocity, this time murdering as many as 250 Syrian soldiers following a half-naked death-march across the desert sand to their place of execution. The entire way, as a video reveals, the men were compelled to chant and sing ... continue reading


Yazidi women held prisoners by IS sold as sex slaves, jihadist brides Watch

Image of Women held captive by ISIS have their newborn babies taken from them -- to never be seen again.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In just the latest devaluation of humanity in the ongoing war in Iraq and Syria, hundreds of Yazidi women being held prisoner by Islamic State fighters to be sold off as sex slaves or wives. They are selling these women for as little as $25. They are repeatedly ... continue reading


Islamic State invasion 'pure and simple religious cleansing and attempted genocide' Watch

Image of Patriarch Younan says that in the Kurdistan region,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan has returned from the Kurdish region of Iraq, and what he has seen has been harrowing indeed. What he made of the handiwork of Islamic State, he said, "is a pure and simple religious cleansing and attempted ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skänninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter