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Saturday 3 September 2011

Another Asia Bibi petition - as well as ours

I hope that you have signed our Asia Bibi petition. Every signature counts. If you have not already done so, please do sign
There is also another petition at the new Christians in Pakistan site here, which we would also urge you to sign if you have not already done so. And also a whole site dedicated to mercy for Asia Bibi, with rather a large petition here
In case you don't know her story, here is a brief recap. Asia Bibi is a poor Pakistani Christian woman, a mother of 5 children, including a disabled girl, who was working in the fields. Her Muslim work'mates' heaped abuse on her when she brought them drinking water, on the grounds that it was 'contaminated' because she, a dirty Christian, touched it. There was a heated debate in which Asia vigorously defended her faith in Christ, in particular referring to Jesus dying for her sins and being resurrected, and compared this to Mohammed, when the Muslims women put intense pressure on her to convert to Islam. The women then accused her of blasphemy when she refused to convert, and local people and Imams attacked her and her daughters.
She was arrested, charged, tried and convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Initially it appeared that she would be pardoned, but the governor of the province, Salman Taseer, who campaigned against the blasphemy law and wanted to free her, was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards, to great praise from many in Pakistan, including so called 'moderate' religious groups. The president of Pakistan seemed like he might want to pardon her, but after this assassination and intense pressure and volatile demonstrations, he has backed away from all moves to abolish, repeal or reform the wicked blasphemy laws. (Just recently his son was kidnapped by religious extremists).
Later on, the other primary campaigner against the blasphemy laws, the only Christian minister in government, Shabhaz Bhatti, was assassinated - in March of this year.
Asia Bibi remains in jail on death row, and Muslim extremists in the area are putting intense pressure on her husband and family, trying (quite effectively it seems) to keep them isolated from any messages or actions of support from the outside world. They all need your prayers, and support, and one means of support is to sign these petitions - this one, and this one, as well as ours

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