Today, tomorrow, the next day, and thereafter, until she is released unharmed and she and her family come to a place of safety, I will be praying for Asia Bibi. Please help by praying for her too. Her situation is really tragic and dire, and anything you can do to help will be a blessing.
Bibi, a Christian woman living in Pakistan, got into a dispute with other women in her village about sharing a water jug or glass. After she offered them water, the other women refused to drink from the same container saying it was unclean. An argument ensued. These other women, who are Muslim, afterward accused Asia of “dishonoring” the prophet, which under Pakistan’s blasphemy law carries the penalty of death. Bibi was tried in court and, despite denying the blasphemy charge, was sentenced to be hanged.
Salmaan Taseer, a Muslim who held the post of governor of Punjab, took up her cause and argued that this law was unjust and being used unfairly against Bibi. Earlier this year, he was murdered by a member of his own security detail, who shot him 26 times with a submachine gun. Taseer’s assassin, while in police custody, was showered with rose petals by supporters. Mullahs throughout the country warned that if anyone even grieved for Taseer, they were exposing themselves to the same fate.
Another courageous and merciful man, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who held the position of Federal Minister for (Religious) Minority Affairs, then took up Bibi’s cause. He also argued against the blasphemy law and claimed the charges against Bibi were baseless and concocted. On March 2, he died in a hail of bullets when a car carrying a group of gunmen pulled in front of his car and they opened fire on him.
Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, both highly visible public figures in Pakistan, believed in freedom of conscience and authentic faith in God. For this strong and true belief, both willingly and courageously walked the path of martydom. Those who killed them seek to place God’s loving faith in chains and seek to take away from others the blessing of free will. Yet, in accordance with the wisdom and love of the most high, God freely gave this blessing to the first man, even knowing this first man would then succumb to the temptation to take what wasn’t his (so the child sin follows closely after its father). May the glory and all the blessings of God, whom Taseer and Bhatti served so faithfully, be with them and theirs forever.
This past June, Bibi passed the two year mark on her time in jail. She fears she could be murdered in jail, like Qamar David, a 55-year-old Catholic who was serving a life sentence for blasphemy. Extremist groups have put a bounty on her head of $6,000. Her husband and children have also been declared to be targets and received death threats. Saying they are concerned about her safety, authorities have kept her in an isolation cell for 24 hours a day, without even a small break for outside air and sun.
Bibi was relocated to a women-only prison after extremists threatened to blow up the prison where she was staying. She has recently fallen ill with chickenpox, apparently because her room and bed sheets have not been cleaned. She spends her time fasting and praying for others.
There are many people praying for Bibi. Please consider joining in this prayer, even if you don’t consider yourself very religious or think your prayer won’t matter. Every voice is heard by God. Bibi can certainly use all the help she can get, including yours. Apparently she has asked for prayers for strength and safety. Thank you so much.
On March 17, 2014, the Lahore High Court will hear Asia Bibi’s appeal. Dear God, thank you for this beam of hope and grant us a share of your mercy and compassion. If you are reading this, please consider joining me in prayer for Asia and her family.