Author Topic: Sentenced to death for a sip of water: Christian woman faces hanging in Pakistan for ‘blasphemy’  (Read 940 times)

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Offline mountaineer

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Sentenced to death for a sip of water

As her religion faces persecution across the Middle East, a Christian woman explains why she faces hanging in Pakistan for the crime of ‘blasphemy’
By ASIA BIBI
Last Updated: 1:33 AM, August 25, 2013
Posted:  11:34 PM, August 24, 2013

     
To her neighbors, Aasiya Noreen “Asia” Bibi, a poor mother of five in the tiny village of Ittan Wali in central Pakistan, was guilty — guilty of being Christian in a nation that is 97% Muslim. For four years she has languished in a prison cell for this, facing death by hanging.  Her new memoir, “Blasphemy,” was dictated to her husband from jail, who relayed it to French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet. Fifty percent of the proceeds the book will go to support Bibi and her family. Tollet says the situation is dire. Embarrassed by Bibi’s case but still refusing to release her because of angry protests by extremists, the Pakistan government has transferred her to a more remote prison, hoping the 42-year-old dies quietly behind bars, perhaps poisoned by another inmate. Already two government officials who have spoken out on her behalf have been murdered, including Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, who was killed by the Taliban. In this excerpt, Bibi explains the simple “transgression” that led to her plight.


I’m the victim of a cruel, collective injustice.

I’ve been locked up, handcuffed and chained, banished from the world and waiting to die. I don’t know how long I’ve got left to live. Every time my cell door opens my heart beats faster. My life is in God’s hands and I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. It’s a brutal, cruel existence. But I am innocent. I’m guilty only of being presumed guilty. I’m starting to wonder whether being a Christian in Pakistan today is not just a failing, or a mark against you, but actually a crime.

But though I’m kept in a tiny, windowless cell, I want my voice and my anger to be heard. I want the whole world to know that I’m going to be hanged for helping my neighbor. I’m guilty of having shown someone sympathy. What did I do wrong? I drank water from a well belonging to Muslim women, using “their” cup, in the burning heat of the midday sun.

I, Asia Bibi, have been sentenced to death because I was thirsty. I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers. ...


I pull up a bucketful of water and dip in the old metal cup resting on the side of the well. The cool water is all I can think of. I gulp it down and I feel better; I pull myself together.

Then I start to hear muttering. I pay no attention and fill the cup again, this time holding it out to a woman next to me who looks like she’s in pain. She smiles and reaches out . . . At exactly the moment Musarat pokes her ferrety nose out from the bush, her eyes full of hate:

“Don’t drink that water, it’s haram!”

Musarat addresses all the pickers, who have suddenly stopped work at the sound of the word “haram,” the Islamic term for anything forbidden by God.

“Listen, all of you, this Christian has dirtied the water in the well by drinking from our cup and dipping it back several times. Now the water is unclean and we can’t drink it! Because of her!” ...

Full story at New York Post
The skeptic is never for real. There he stands, cocktail in hand, left arm draped languorously on one end of the mantelpiece, telling you that he can't be sure of anything, not even of his own existence. I'll give you my secret method of demolishing universal skepticism in four words. Whisper to him: "Your fly is open." If he thinks knowledge is so all-fired impossible, why does he always look? — James Sire (from, The Universe Next Door)

Offline aligncare

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I'm speechless. "Holy crap" is the only thought that came to mind.
Some #NeverTrumpers are like the pockets of Japanese who didn't know the war was over

Offline Oceander

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Welcome (back) to the Middle Ages.

Offline aligncare

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Yep. Only now, Islam has the internet, cell phones, and wear Nike -- thanks to 21st Century nations.
Some #NeverTrumpers are like the pockets of Japanese who didn't know the war was over

Offline Olivia

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This is so sad beyond words!  She needs a miracle to survive in that environment. 
Truthfully, the most important thing in life is knowing what the most important things in life are, and prioritizing them accordingly.   Melchor Lim

Offline mountaineer

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Some observations by Michael Avramovich at Touchstone Magazine:
Quote
On these pages, I have written about the plight of Asia Bibi.  Many of us are familiar with her case; she was the Pakistani Roman Catholic rural farm worker and mother of five. 

In June 2009, while working in the fields, she was sent to bring water for the other farm workers.  Some Moslem workers refused to drink her water as they considered Christians to be “unclean.”  In response, some of her coworkers complained that she made derogatory comments about Islam.

  What was the derogatory comment she purportedly made against Mohammed?  The Moslem women claimed Asia Bibi said: “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?”

  Although she is illiterate, and considered a simple and uneducated woman, she actually asked a deeply profound question as Islam teaches one cannot know and experience assurance of eternal salvation.  After ruminating on her question without an adequate answer, six days after the incident, a violent mob came to her home, damaged her home, and beat her and members of her family.  Police arrested her, and she spent more than one year in jail before trial.

 In November 2010, Judge Muhammed Naveed Iqbal sentenced her to death by hanging, and she was also fined the equivalent of $1,100, a huge sum in rural Pakistan.  Her verdict was upheld by the Lahore High Court.  Another appeal is not expected to be heard in her case until at least 2015.  Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari declined to grant a pardon to Asia Bibi after large demonstrations were held against her.

Pakistan is our erstwhile ally in the war against terrorism, and has received tens of billions of our tax dollars in foreign and military aid over just the past decade, and continues to do so.  Militant Islamist forces in Pakistan create much violence against Christian believers.  In addition to Asia Bibi, numerous other Pakistani Christians have been falsely accused of breaking infamous law 295(c) of the Pakistani criminal code, which provides that blasphemy against Mohammed is a crime punishable by death.

 As we begin 2014, there are approximately 40 individuals on death row or serving life sentences for allegedly blasphemous conduct, a statistic unmatched anywhere else in the world.  But there might be others as well who are unknown in the West.  Typically, the charges against Christians are fabricated for the personal gain of the accusers.

Asia Bibi has now spent her fifth Christmas in prison.  Presently, media reports indicate that she is confined to a small solitary confinement cell without windows at a Lahore prison.  If she is released, one survey reported that ten million Pakistanis said that they would be willing to personally kill her. 

The imam in her village, Qari Mohammed Salim, stated that he wept for joy on learning that she had been sentenced to death.  The Honorable Imam Salim also threatened that some people would “take the law into their own hands” should she be pardoned or released.

  My readers may recall that two officials who championed her case, the governor of Punjab province, Salmaan Taseer, and Shahbaz Bhatti, a federal cabinet minister, were both assassinated three years ago.  Her family has received threats and is in hiding.  Her husband, Ashiq, stated that her family has been offered asylum in numerous Western European countries should she be released.  (However, she has not been offered asylum by our “Surfer Dude” President, who has, in comparison to Asia Bibi, spent the last five Christmases on vacation with his family in Hawaii.)  However, her husband and family announced that they are unwilling to leave Pakistan without her.

As we begin 2014, please pray for Asia Bibi and her family.  And please tell your friends because standing with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world is an important part of proclaiming the Holy Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  After all, we are instructed in Hebrews 13:3, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”  Just imagine how God would pour out His blessings upon our hearts if we followed that command.

The skeptic is never for real. There he stands, cocktail in hand, left arm draped languorously on one end of the mantelpiece, telling you that he can't be sure of anything, not even of his own existence. I'll give you my secret method of demolishing universal skepticism in four words. Whisper to him: "Your fly is open." If he thinks knowledge is so all-fired impossible, why does he always look? — James Sire (from, The Universe Next Door)

Offline aligncare

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Asia Bibi needs more than prayers. There may be nothing that can be done to save Asia or the 40 others on death row for blasphemy against Mohammed. But there is something going forward that could be done to shake up a seventh-century anachronism called Islam. The withdrawal of all U.S. financial support for Islamic regimes.

I AM DONE!


Some #NeverTrumpers are like the pockets of Japanese who didn't know the war was over


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