Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. She has been held in prison for more than a year and Christian groups around the world have begun to protest the sentence, handed down only this week after a trial.
Christian and secular media outlets are reporting that Bibi, a 45 year-old wife and mother was set upon by a crowd of Muslim co-workers. Great Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported “The police were under pressure from this Muslim mob, including clerics, asking for Asia to be killed because she had spoken ill of the Prophet Mohammed.”
Accounts of the 2009 incident all contain facts that indicate that Bibi, after being asked to fetch water while working as a farmhand with other women, was insulted by Muslim workers who refused to accept it from her, calling her “unclean” because she is Christian.
Reportedly a dispute followed during which she was called “infidel” and her faith was branded a “religion of infidels.” Asia Bibi, retreated to her home where she lives with her husband and children and was followed there.
The Pakistan Christian Post reported that violence ensued that engulfed her family. Police removed her from the scene, as if for her protection and she was jailed. “The police took Asia Bibi to the police station and filed a complaint against her under section 295-B and C of Pakistan Penal Code.”
Asia Bibi Has Been Jailed For More Than One Year In Blasphemy Case
Shahzad Kamran, of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, said: “The police were under pressure from this Muslim mob, including clerics, asking for Asia to be killed because she had spoken ill of the Prophet Mohammed.
“So after the police saved her life they then registered a blasphemy case against her.” He added that she had been held in isolation for more than a year before being sentenced to death on Monday.
“The trial was clear,” he said. “She was innocent and did not say those words.” Earlier this year, Pakistan’s internet service providers were ordered to block Facebook to prevent access to supposedly blasphemous images.
Asia News has reported that the blasphemy laws, “according to the National Commission on Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church, between 1986 and August 2009, at least 974 people have been charged for defiling the Qur’an or insulting the Prophet Muhammad.”
Yesterday, the Catholic League, a U.S. ant-defamation organization in support of Catholics around the world is urging the United Nations to take action against these types of blasphemy laws. The League believes they give nothing but cover to bigots who use them to persecute Catholics and other Christian sects.
In related news, late last week, Iran denied stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman whose conviction for adultery and subsequent sentence have sparked international outrage.