The PIME Missionaries’ Asia News Service reports that the Catholic Church in Pakistan has called upon the faithful to fast and pray for Asia Bibi, the Christian woman jailed on charges of blasphemy since 2009, and sentenced to death by hanging in November 2010. She was the first woman sentenced to death in Pakistan on blasphemy charges.
Wikipedia tells the story of the incident leading to her arrest:
In June 2009, Noreen [Asia’s given name] was harvesting falsa berries with a group of other farmhands in a field in Sheikhupura. She was asked at one point to fetch water from a nearby well; she complied but stopped to take a drink with an old metal cup she had found lying next to the well. A neighbor of Noreen, who had been involved in a running feud with Noreen’s family about some property damage, saw her and angrily told her that it was forbidden for a Christian to drink water from the same utensil from which Muslims drink, and some of the other workers considered her to be unclean because she was a Christian. Some arguments ensued. Noreen recounts that when they made derogatory statements about her religion, she responded, “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?”
Now, Asia News explains the new concerns in her case:
The prayers were held in Rawalpindi, but also in Jhelum, Lahore and Sialkot. Pakistan’s Supreme Court decision to execute Mumtaz Qadri – who murdered the Punjab governor, Salman Taseer, who had defended Asia Bibi – has sparked massive protests by Muslim radicals demanding the hanging of Christian women… Supporters of Qadri, who meanwhile are building a monument in his memory, have put pressure on the government to carry out the woman’s death sentence.
Click here to read more about the new, heightened threats on Asia Bibi’s life:
(Photo: Abdulqadir Memon)