Showing posts with label Asia Bibi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Asia Bibi. Show all posts

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Patriarch Kirill Asks for Pardon of Asia Bibi

In a letter to Hussain, Kirill warns: "There is the risk of jeopardizing the dialogue and relations between Christians and Muslims not only in Pakistan but all over the world."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has sent a letter to the President of Pakistan Himari Hussain asking him to pardon Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

The primate of the Russian Orthodox Church writes, "it would be an irreparable loss for her family, her near and dear, cause a great damage to the Muslim-Christian dialogue and could also aggravate tension between Christians and Muslims both in Pakistan and in the entire world".

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Asia Bibi's Letter to the Pope: "Only God can Free Me" -- The Silence of Amnesty International

(Lahore) Asia Bibi, Pakistan's most famous prisoner has sent   a letter to Pope Francis. The now 43 year old Pakistani Catholic has been in prison since n June 2009 for allegedly insulting Islam. Accused by two Islamic religious leaders of having engaging a  Muslim women in a dispute where she maintained that it was not Mohammed who was the "true prophet" of God, but Jesus Christ, she is the first woman to be sentenced to death in the country on  8 November 2010. Since then, she is held under particularly tight security in prison during her  appeal process. The mother of five children was sentenced under Article 295 (C) of 1986 anti-blasphemy law introduced in the Pakistan Penal Code.

Diplomatic Efforts by the Vatican For Release

In November 2011,  Pope Benedict XVI. appealed publicly to  the Pakistani government to bring an end of discrimination and violence against Christians. For a Christian, the Head of the Church explained: "Today I bring to expression my spiritual closeness especially to Mrs. Asia Bibi and her family members, while I note that she has her full freedom restored  as soon as possible ."  At the same time, the Pope sent Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to Pakistan, with a diplomatic mission to Islamabad to secure the release and departure of Asia Bibi. The mission failed because   the Pakistani government feared to release Asia Bibi because of  an Islamist insurgency. The diplomatic efforts of the Catholic side have  not been cancelled since.  Chilly silence prevails, however, from the "Heralds" in the defense of human rights. The abortion lobbyist Amnesty International has barely spent a word for Asia Bibi, while the release of  the extreme left, anti-Church,  action group Pussy Riot, or the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky will be celebrated as "successes".

Christmas with the family in prison

In her letter to Pope Francis, Asia Bibi offers a personal testimony of faith. She thanked him for the divine grace that she could hold out so long. She also thanked the Holy See for the efforts toward her release. "I hope that every Christian could celebrate Christmas with joy. Like many other prisoners, I have celebrated the birth of our Lord in prison in Multan here in Pakistan. In a special way, she thanked the Catholic school and charity Renaissance Education Foundation, through which it was possible that her husband and her children were allowed to come to Multan for Christmas in the prison, to  celebrate the Solemnity together. "It would have been for me a great pleasure to have celebrated Christmas in the Vatican Basilica to pray together with you. I have confidence in the plans that God has  for me and maybe it will be possible next year."

"Only God Can Free Me"

Asia Bibi thanked all Christians who pray for her and work for her release. She wrote to the Pope about their already four and a half years in prison and  her concerns: "I do not know how long I can hold out. If I'm still alive, it is thanks to the power which was given to me through your prayers. I have met many people who support me and fight for me. So far, unfortunately without success. In this moment I want to entrust myself solely to the mercy of God who can do anything. He alone can free me."

"I Know that You Pray for Me"

In the letter to the Pope, the Pakistani mother speaks  of some of her  daily worries to prison: "This winter is especially hard: my cell is unheated, the door does not protect against the biting cold." "The security measures are inappropriate," since Asia Bibi was moved for security to the prison of Multan, her family has to travel from Lahore, which is a long way. The authorities speak of "necessities", because otherwise they could not protect the lives of prisoners.  Several calls for her death  and a bounty have been offered by Islamist organizations  for the Moslem who murders Asia Bibi.
The thanks and pleading letter to the Pope ends with the best Christmas and New Year wishes. "I know that you pray with all your heart for me. This gives me confidence that my freedom will one day be possible.  I greet you with affection in this hopeful prayer. Asia Bibi, your daughter in the faith. "
Text: Paix Liturgique / Giuseppe Nardi
image: Una Fides
Trans: Tancred
Link to Katholisches....


Friday, November 29, 2013

Christian Sat Behind Bars for Eight Years Because He Refused "to Pray Like a Muslim"

(Islamabad) The Christian Younis Masih is free again. For eight years he was in Pakistan in prison because he had refused "to pray as a Muslim". Since the 10th of October 2005 Younis Masih has sat in jail after Muslims had convicted him for blasphemy. Now he is free and still lives in fear." To be honest, I'm more afraid to be murdered in cold blood in freedom."

The Pakistani Younis Masih is 35 years old today. Yesterday he was released from prison in which he had been put at the age of 27 years. The release was decided by the Higher Regional Court of Lahore, as the Christian Association of Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD) reported.

Death Penalty

On May 30th, 2007 Masih was sentenced after one and half years detention to death by a Pakistani court and ordered to pay 100,000 rupees penalty. After six years on death row, he was acquitted last April 3rd by an appeals court. Yesterday he was finally released. Masih keeps on with his family at an unknown location. Fearing an attack by Islamists, the Christian Association had made the necessary arrangements. Even if the Court of Lahore stated his innocence and acknowledged that Younis Masih sat wrongfully in prison for eight years, the Islamists are not impressed. In Pakistan, there have been Christians who were accused of insulting Islam, and murdered by incited Muslims before a court ruling.

Masih was arrested on the 10th of October 2005 after he had been accused by Muslims of insulting Mohammed and the Koran. "The conviction was based on pure nothing," said Masih's lawyer. "Unfortunately, the testimony of Muslims suffices as evidence of a crime. The testimony of a Muslim is enough to condemn another human being to death."

According to counsel "a group of Christians had gathered on September 8th, 2006 in Chungi Ammarsiduh, a district of Lahore. A neighboring Muslim felt disturbed and asked them to leave. Abdul Aziz, one of the plaintiffs, urged Masih that Christians should pray like the Muslims, at that point a lengthy altercation developed. Two days later, Masih was arrested by the police. He was charged with insulting Islam."

Death Threats

Masih said yesterday at a meeting with the representatives of LEAD: "I have four children, and wasa innocent for eight years in prison and am now out of work. But above all, I live in fear of being murdered in cold blood at any moment. "The fear is justified, as shown by other events. Also, Masih has received a number of death threats over the past few years, as the lawyer confirmed.

Blasphemy Law

Since the military dictator Zia ul-Haq had put in force the notorious anti-blasphemy law in 1986, against insulting Islam, at least 50 of 130 Christians convicted under this Act have been executed in Pakistan. The law provides for life imprisonment or the death penalty for insulting Allah, Islam, the Koran or Mohammed.

The law is often abused by Muslims to take revenge on Christians, other non-Muslims or Muslims with each other or because they want to gain possession of their house or land. By 2009, 90 percent of 994 charges against Christians were thrown out as manifestly unfounded. For more than 1,600 days, or four and a half years, the Christian Asia Bibi has been in prison. Since the 8th of November, 2010 she has been sitting on death row, because a court has found her guilty of insulting Islam. Because they were0 campaigning for the release of Asia Bibi and a change in the law, the Catholic Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, and the Muslim Governor, Salman Taseer were murdered by fanatical Muslims in two attacks.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred

Link to Katholisches...