Friday, October 28, 2016

Pakistan: Muslims threaten riots if Christian woman accused of “blasphemy” is released


Seven years ago, Bibi was picking fruit on a summer morning when she paused for a drink of water at a nearby well. The women she was working with objected, accusing her of contaminating the water because she was a Christian.
During the argument, Bibi asked the women, “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?”
The question made the women furious, and they gathered a local mob. Bibi was accused of blasphemy, beaten, and thrown in prison. [Read Bibi’s own account of the incident.]
The Pakistan Sunni Tehreek (PST), a religio-militant Islamic group, has also vowed violent protests across the country if Asia Bibi is released, while the “religious” folks who took to the streets to block the release of Bibi are backed by the Shuhada Foundation, which also issued a statement that its supporters would “take to the streets and keep the government from functioning if Noreen were released.”
Meanwhile, Christian organizations have set up a campaign to save Asia Bibi and other Christians from Pakistan’s barbarous blasphemy laws, under which Christians are frequently falsely charged with blaspheming Islam and/or Muhammad. Christian families have also had to flee their villages in fear for their lives when a family member has been maliciously accused of blasphemy.
Release International is calling for people to sign its petition to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to abolish those laws, while more than 150,000 Christians have also signed a separate Voice of the Martyrs Call For Mercy petition pleading for Bibi’s life.
“Religious activists warn against release of Aasia Bibi”, The Express Tribune, October 20, 2016:
LAHORE: Religious activists staged a protest on the Mall Road on Wednesday against the possible release of jailed blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi.
Speakers at the protest categorically demanded the Supreme Court to immediately reject her appeal and order her execution, warning of unrest in the country if the apex court did not do so.
The protesters started their march at Data Darbar and then staged a sit-in at Chairing Cross, where they offered Asr and Maghrib prayers. Protesters at the demonstration shouted slogans against the convict, the Supreme Court and the federal government, and in favour of Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who was hanged for the murder of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.
Religious groups have organised regular protests…..

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