Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/9/2011 (3 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 (3 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 January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Middle East

War in all but name: Hezbollah rocket attack kills two Israeli soldiers, Israel responds with attacks of its own Watch

Image of Hezbollah launched a rocket attack on an Israeli military convoy which left seven injured and two dead.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Iranian-backed terrorist group that holds major political clout in Lebanon, Hezbollah, may have just fired the first shots of a war with Israel, which could plunge a delicately balanced region into all-out war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On January ... continue reading


'We will reach America!' ISIS threatens to behead Obama in an execution video (Warning: Graphic Content)

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Know, oh Obama, that we will reach America," states a black-clad ISIS militant in ISIS' latest beheading video. "Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This video, ... continue reading


Looking for any chance to execute non-Muslims, Islamic State makes new demands of Japan for release of one hostage Watch

Image of Kenji Goto appears to be still alive, for the time being, though if Japan does not secure the release of Sajida al-Rishawi from Jordan, he too will likely be executed.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has apparently killed one of the two Japanese men that it held hostage, releasing an image of what appears to be the decapitated body of one of the two men, and saying that it had killed one of its hostages after Japan failed to pay $200 million ... continue reading


Crucial U.S. ally against terrorism, Yemen's President resigns Watch

Image of Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's resignation, following his prime minister and Cabinet stepped down has left the region especially vulnerable.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's resignation, following his prime minister and Cabinet stepped down has left the region especially vulnerable. The resignations came a day after the government and Houthi rebels struck a peace deal meant to end days of ... continue reading


Airstrikes have killed 6,000 Islamic State militants, but signs suggest this won't save Iraq Watch

Image of The Islamic State has been hurt by U.S. airstrikes, but it may not be enough to save Iraq.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The American-led coalition that has been engaged in an ongoing campaign of airstrikes against the Islamic State through much of 2014 has taken a "devastating" toll on the terrorist group, and a U.S. official recently releasing figures for the number of terrorists ... continue reading


Saudia Arabia's King Abdullah has died Watch

Image of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud has died.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud has died. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After suffering from pneumonia and being admitted to the hospital, King Abdullah passed away at 90-years-old.He became King in August 2005, but had been in charge of ... continue reading


Do not appease Iran! Democrat, Republican and Israeli leadership warn Obama about the dangers of a nuclear armed Iran Watch

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before Congress on February 11 about the dangers that a nuclear armed Iran poses to the United States, Israel and the West.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel is set to come to the United States in February and give a speech before Congress about the dangerous issue of Iran. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Netanyahu has already been quite vocal in raising his concerns ... continue reading


Iran, Hezbollah plan 'imminent' joint invasion of Israel's northern Galilee region Watch

Image of Hezbollah said that Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of a prominent commander, and Mohammed Issa, funeral shown here, was responsible for the group's operations in Syria and Iraq and died alongside Tabatabai.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Israeli security sources claim that senior Iranian and Hezbollah figures killed in an airstrike in Syria this weekend were likely planning an "imminent" attack on Israel. Six Iranian army chiefs died alongside five Hezbollah militants when an Israeli helicopter ... continue reading


Yemeni president loses control as Shiite rebels storm the presidential palace Watch

Image of Shiite Houthi rebels have stormed the Yemeni presidential palace, and the Yemeni Minster of Information has declared that the president of Yemen has lost all control.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Yemen may next on the list of Middle Eastern countries whose leadership has changed, following the capture of the presidential palace in Sanna, by a group of Shitte Houthi rebels. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The attack took place on January 20, and led to ... continue reading


'This knife will become your nightmare' ISIS demands $200 million in new hostage video (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Image of A man dressed in all black, with British accent, threatens the lives of two Japanese men in newest ISIS video.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two Japanese men are held hostage in the Islamic State's (ISIS) latest act of extremism. ISIS released a video demanding $200 million or the two hostages would be killed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa are featured in the video in ... 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, Hebrews 10:19-25
19 We have then, brothers, complete confidence ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:21-25
21 He also said to them, 'Is a lamp brought in to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 29th, 2015 Image

Sts. Sarbelius & Barbea
January 29: Two martyrs, brother and sister, who were put to death at Edessa ... 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