Christian Woman Convicted of Blasphemy in Pakistan Awaits Ruling on Death Sentence
As our society ratchets up the rhetoric and even actions in opposition to Christianity, conservative Christians in this country need to keep things in perspective. For example, Chinese Christians are suffering under intense persecution in their country that we do not yet have to fear. Another example of how Christians suffer in other countries is Asia Bibi, who has been convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan for offering a co-worker a drink of water.
Convicted in 2010, Bibi was sentenced to death. The mother of five has since been waiting on death row. Her final appeal took place on October 8, and she waits to hear the results. According to Baptist Press:
The coworker said Bibi's Christianity made the water ceremonially unclean, setting off a chain of false accusations related to Bibi's beliefs and backed by Muslim clerics. The Supreme Court of Pakistan heard hours of testimony before deferring a ruling in the case, with no official timeline set for a decision, according to news reports.
The delay in announcing the court's decision regarding the appeal may point to good news according to the American Center for Law and Justice. The ACLJ explains:
The court did not provide any date when the verdict will be announced. Given the religiously-charged atmosphere of the country regarding blasphemy cases, it is understandable that the court would avoid announcing its decision yesterday, especially if it is in Asia Bibi’s favor.
The ACLJ goes on to report that Pakistan's Supreme Court has never upheld the death sentence in blasphemy cases. The problem, though, is that many of those sentenced to death by lower courts have been subsequently murdered after the country's Supreme Court overturned the sentence. Even if Bibi' sentence is overturned, she will still be in danger. Her brothers and sisters in Christ around the world need to be praying for her. As Baptist Press points out:
The hostile climate for Christians, who number less than 4 million in a country of 196 million, is evidenced by frequent reports of public, institutional and governmental violence against religious minorities. Mob violence, police torture, rape and murder are frequent, the ACLJ's European counterpart told the United Nations General Assembly as recently as August.
God is sovereign and His grace is sufficient for Asia Bibi and her family. But that doesn't mean that Christians in America shouldn't be aware of and concerned about her case. More importantly, as mentioned earlier, we need to be in prayer for her.