Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/8/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We join with Asia Bibi in her heartfelt appeal to the peacemaker Pope named Francis to use his office and his global popularity to aid in securing the release of this woman

Asia Bibi is a Roman Catholic Christian woman with fundamental human rights which have been egregiously violated. The Pakistani Blasphemy Law being used to suppress her practice of her religious faith in this Islamic Nation is unjust, immoral and must be repealed.  In the face of such an obvious attack on a Christian, for being a Christian, all those who bear the name Christian must pray, show fraternity, and act in solidarity. FREE ASIA BIBI!

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/8/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Asia Bibi, Pakistan, Blasphemy Law, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, persecution, Islamist, Jihadism, Deacon Keith Fournier


LAHORE, Pakistan (Catholic Online) - The attention of the world should be fixed on a prison cell in Multan, Pakistan. There, a faithful Catholic Christian wife and mother named Asia Bibi has been unjustly imprisoned for four and one half years.

I have written about her plight for several years, joining a chorus of other religious and secular media sources. Yet, she is still imprisoned. Now, she has written to Pope Francis, the peacemaker Pope, asking for his prayer and assistance.

In a beautiful message http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-issues-peace-day-message released on January 1, 2014, the World Day of Peace, Francis wrote to all of us about our vocation to fraternity, another way of speaking about our obligation in solidarity to one another. We have an obligation in solidarity to do everything we can to assist Asia Bibi.  

Her story is the subject of a 2011 book entitled Blasphemy:A Memoir: Sentenced to Death Over a Cup of Water  It was released on Sept. 7, 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal. Asia Bibi collaborated with French journalist Anne Isabelle Tollet and the Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need in telling her story. She was unjustly accused, imprisoned and sentenced to death by hanging in Pakistan under the reprehensible Blasphemy Law.

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

As the initial news of Asia Bibi's plight spread through the international media, it brought almost universal condemnation. Sadly, it did not last. Her plight and her heroic suffering for the cause of Jesus Christ were soon forgotten. This 45 year old woman, wife and mother was sentenced to hang by the neck until dead on November 8, 2010 for what amounted to simply being a Christian.

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 was convinced that the whole family had 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."

So, a neighborhood disagreement, which actually entailed the disparagement of a Christian by hostile Muslims was used as a subterfuge to openly persecute a Catholic Christian simply because she was a Catholic Christian. Her lawyer filed an appeal of her unjust sentence and requested a pardon from the Office of then President Asif Ali Zardari, who served in that office until 2013. He allegedly 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 in 2010.

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 was not authorized to issue a pardon for Asia Bibi. So, she sits in a jail cell, in inhumane conditions. She awaits the conclusion of another alleged procedural appeal, in a long line of procedural appeals.

Asia Bibi has never even had a fair trial.

When the initial news of Asia Bibi's plight spread throughout the international media, it brought almost universal condemnation. Sadly, it did not last. Her plight and heroic suffering for the cause of Jesus Christ were soon forgotten. This 45 year old wife and mother has been sentenced to hang by the neck until dead on November 8, 2010 for what amounted to simply being a Christian. The unjust sentence was rendered under Pakistan's horrendous and, yes I will say it without equivocation, evil, Blasphemy 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)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, on November 17, 2010, at his general audience in St. Peters square, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, 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.

Now, it is the turn of his successor, Pope Francis, to take the baton and carry forward this just cause. We join the chorus of those throughout the world calling on the Government of Pakistan to intervene in this tragic miscarriage of justice. FREE ASIA BIBI! We join with Asia Bibi in her heartfelt appeal to the peacemaker Pope named Francis to use his office and his global popularity to aid in securing the release of this woman. 

At the beginning of 2014 Asia Bibi wrote to Pope Francis. Excerpts from the letter have appeared in several European sources. Among the excerpts we read that she told Pope Francis, "I would have liked to be in St. Peter's for Christmas to pray with you, but I trust in God's plan for me and hopefully it will be achieved next year.I also hope that every Christian has been able to celebrate the Christmas just past with joy. Like many other prisoners, I also celebrated the birth of the Lord in prison in Multan, here in Pakistan.

This heroic Christian woman expressed her gratitude for those praying for her release writing, "I am very grateful to all the churches that are praying for me and fighting for my freedom". She made her plight clear, I do not know how long I can go on and on. If I am still alive, it is thanks to the strength that your prayers give me. I have met many people who speak and fight for me. Unfortunately still to no avail. At this time I just want to trust the mercy of God, who can do everything, that all is possible. Only He can liberate me.

This winter I am facing many problems: my cell has no heating and no suitable door for shelter from the bitter cold.  Also the security measures are not adequate, I do not have enough money for daily needs, and I am very far from Lahore so my family cannot help me.

She concluded this touching letter displaying the piety and affection of a devout Catholic woman in these tender words, I know you pray for me with all your heart.  And this gives me confidence that one day my freedom will be possible. Certain to be remembered in your prayers, I greet you with affection. Asia Bibi, your daughter in the faith."

Well, God works through His people - that includes you and me. I ask everyone reading this article to pray for the release of Asia Bibi. Please join with me in storming heaven with your fervent prayer - seeking the intervention of a just and merciful God to FREE ASIA BIBI!. Then, raise hell by speaking out against this horrid abuse of fundamental human rights which is being perpetrated by the Government of Pakistan.

Asia Bibi is a Roman Catholic Christian woman with fundamental human rights which have been egregiously violated. The Pakistani Blasphemy Law being used to suppress her practice of her religious faith in this Islamic Nation is unjust, immoral and must be repealed.  In the face of such an obvious attack on a Christian, for being a Christian, all those who bear the name Christian must pray, show fraternity, and act in solidarity. FREE ASIA BIBI!

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Middle East

As Houthis rebels advance on Aden, Yemeni president flees by boat Watch

Image of A Yemeni man says the child, pictured riding a horse, was killed in the Saudi air stirke in Sana'a this week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes in Yemen are targeting military installations held by the Shia rebels. The militant factions swept into the country's south and drove Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee by sea. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hadi was ... continue reading


Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen dangerously clashing with archrival Iran Watch

Image of The greatest concern is that the conflict could evolve into a proxy war between Yemen and its neighbor Saudi Arabia, the leading Sunni power, and Iran, the leading Shia power.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The momentous divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the Middle East has turned into open conflict in Yemen. There are widespread fears that this will draw other nations into a much wider war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Sunni coalition of Arab states ... continue reading


DRIVING MILITANTS OUT: Houthi positions in Yemen targeted by Saudi Arabia Watch

Image of The air campaign began at 7 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, according to Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Backed by other Gulf States and Egypt Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Houthi militants in Yemen. The airstrikes were in response to the Yemeni president fleeing his palace ahead of advancing fighters. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Saudi Arabia builds megacity in middle of desert at cost of $100 billion Watch

Image of KAEC has its own website showing plans for the city, including details on how to invest in its growth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The King Abdullah Economic City, or KAEC -- pronounced "cake," is being constructed by Saudi Arabia. The planned megacity in the desert will be slightly larger than Washington D.C. and home to approximately two million residents. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


'Death to America' Iran's Supreme Leader declares on even on nuclear weapon agreement Watch

Image of When the crowd started shouting,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the United States works with Iran for a comprehensive nuclear weapons treat, Iran's Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for "Death to America" this past weekend. It was contradictory news as it came shortly after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to ... continue reading


The Obama administration steps on more toes: U.S. moves from Israeli-Palestinian peace talks toward United Nations forced two-state resolution in Middle East crisis Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The continuous efforts to get Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peaceful agreement on land has potentially reached its peak. The United States is edging closer to supporting the United Nations Security Council in forcing a final peace settlement, a lasting two-state ... continue reading


Netanyahu takes overwhelming victory despite left-wing busing Arabs to polls during Israeli election Watch

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a message posted on Facebook declared that left-wing non-governmental organizations, or NGOs and foreign governments attempted to influence the Israeli election. He says that these entities bussed Arabs to the polls.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a message posted on Facebook declared that left-wing non-governmental organizations, or NGOs and foreign governments were attempting to influence the upcoming Israeli election. He says that these entities intended to bus ... continue reading


'We will blacken your life and blow up your White House.' ISIS makes direct threats in new audio accepting Boko Haram's allegiance Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"We want, Allah willing, Paris before Rome and before Al-Andalus [Spain and Portugal], [and] after that we will blacken your life and blow up your White House, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower, Allah willing," Islamic State spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani warns in a ... continue reading


ISIS may hate the West - but loves our junk food! Watch

Image of Most of their meals seem to be washed down with an assortment of cavity-inducing sodas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State loves to videotape torture and mayhem to post to the shared outrage of the outside world. Now, ISIS has posted pictures glorifying their notoriously bad dietary standards. McDonald's food, sugary sodas, chocolate desserts are all on the menu for ... continue reading


Sickening new photos claim to show Iraqi troops torturing ISIS prisoners in 'revenge attacks' (Warning: Graphic Photos) Watch

Image of Horrific photos claim to show Iraqi troops imitating ISIS.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New sickening ISIS-related pictures have been made public. The various pictures show every type of torture ISIS has inflicted in previous propaganda videos and pictures. However, there is one detail that makes these new photos stand out among the others. LOS ANGELES, ... 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, Isaiah 50:4-7
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
8 'He trusted himself to Yahweh, let Yahweh set him ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 15:1-39
1 First thing in the morning, the chief priests, ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 2:6-11
6 Who, being in the form of God, did not count ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 29th, 2015 Image

St. Berthold
March 29: Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite ... 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