Asia Bibi was on death row for years in Pakistan for saying to a group of Muslim women: “I’m not going to convert. 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? And why should it be me that converts instead of you?”
Asia Bibi’s conviction was ultimately overturned by the Pakistani Supreme Court and she was able to leave the country. However, many people who have been accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have been imprisoned and even lynched by mobs without ever having been tried. Now Bibi, who currently lives in Canada, says rightly: “The way any person is alleged of blasphemy without any proper investigation without any proper proof, that should be noticed. This blasphemy law should be reviewed and there should be proper investigation mechanisms while applying this law. We should not consider anyone sinful for this act without any proof.”
Many, many others are in Asia Bibi’s situation in Pakistan, while the international media and human rights organizations remain largely indifferent to their plight. “I request the whole world to pay attention to this issue,” says Bibi. That attention is long overdue.
“Christian mother Asia Bibi demands justice for blasphemy law victims: ‘The world should listen,'” by Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post, September 3, 2019:
Christian mother Asia Bibi condemned Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws and issued an urgent call for reform in her first interview since being released from prison after spending eight years on death row on a false blasphemy charge.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Bibi thanked Pakistan’s supreme court for acquitting her but said others also need fair trials. “There are many other cases where the accused are lying in jail for years and their decision should also be done on merit. The world should listen to them,” she said.
“I request the whole world to pay attention to this issue,” Bibi continued. “The way any person is alleged of blasphemy without any proper investigation without any proper proof, that should be noticed. This blasphemy law should be reviewed and there should be proper investigation mechanisms while applying this law. We should not consider anyone sinful for this act without any proof.”
Bibi’s ordeal began nearly 10 years ago when two Muslim farm laborers accused her of drinking from the same container as them and refused to drink after her because she’s a Christian.
Bibi, also known as Asya Noureen and a mother of five, was subsequently accused of insulting the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. In Pakistan, where 97 percent of its 180 million inhabitants are Muslim, being charged with committing blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death or life in prison.
After spending eight years on death row, Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which ultimately said there were many inconsistencies in the testimonies against her. However, she was kept in custody for another seven months as the government struggled with how to free her without angering hardline Islamist groups.
Speaking about her time in a Pakistani jail, Bibi told The Telegraph that her Christian faith had never faltered and also said she never cried in front of her daughters when they visited her in jail. “I used to cry alone filled with pain and grief,” she said.
Still, Bibi said she feared for her future. “Sometimes I was so disappointed and losing courage I used to wonder whether I was coming out of jail or not, what would happen next, whether I would remain here all my life,” she said. “My whole life suffered, my children suffered and this had a huge impact on my life.”
In May, Bibi was finally brought to Canada, through mediation by the European’s Union special envoy on religious freedom, Jan Figel. Due to security concerns, she was unable to say goodbye to her father or her homeland.
“My heart was broken when I left that way without meeting my family. Pakistan is my country, Pakistan is my homeland, I love my country, I love my soil,” she said.
Now 54, Bibi said that while she hopes to move to Europe with her family in the coming months. They are currently living in Canada….
Pakistan was listed in January as No. 5 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith, with blasphemy accusations cited as one of the major sources of oppression.