- “I will not convert. I believe in my religion and Jesus Christ. And why should I be the one to convert and not you?” — Asia Bibi.
- It is the West’s indolence and cupidity that has condemned Asia Bibi to death. No one in Europe has filled the streets to ask for the liberation of this courageous woman, or even to protest Pakistan’s anti-Christian laws.
- Even Pope Francis stood silent. The emblem of his reticence is the 12 seconds of face-to-face time the Pope had with Bibi’s husband and her daughter in St. Peter’s Square. Francis barely touched the two. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, publicly called many times for her release.
- The mainline Protestant churches of America, too busy demonizing Israel, also stood silent. Meanwhile, Christianity is being erased from its own cradle.
By Giulio Meotti, The Gatestone Institute.
The death sentence for Asia Bibi is like Chernobyl’s nuclear cloud: it contaminates everything around it. After Asia’s arrest, her husband, Masih, and her children went into hiding. They have moved house 15 times in five years. They could not even attend Asia’s judicial hearings. It is too dangerous for them. Her husband was forced to quit his job.
Asia’s “crime” was to use the same water glass as her Muslim co-workers. She was sentenced to death because she is Christian and she was thirsty. “You defiled our water,” the Muslim women told her. “Convert to Islam to redeem yourself from your filthy religion.”
Asia took a deep breath and replied: “I will not convert. I believe in my religion and Jesus Christ. And why should I be the one to convert and not you?”
On November 8, 2010, after just five minutes of deliberation, Asia Noreen Bibi, under Article 295 of the Pakistani Code, was sentenced to death by hanging. The crowd cheered the verdict. She was alone and burst into tears. Next to her there were two policemen, visibly satisfied. In the days after, 50,000 people in Karachi and 40,000 in Lahore took the streets to brandish an image of Asia Bibi with the rope around her neck. They say they will not rest until she is hanged or shot.
Pakistani Islamists recently gathered to demand the immediate execution of this woman, who has been jailed for 2,500 days. Fears for the life of Bibi — the first Christian woman sentenced to be hanged in Pakistan on spurious charges of “blasphemy” — have grown after the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, a brave Muslim reformer who paid with his life for expressing support for Asia Bibi. Lawyers defending people accused of blasphemy are sometimes murdered as well.
The late Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti also supported Asia Bibi, and ensured that she was placed another cell, where a camera now checks that she does not suffer any violence. It was a fatal decision for Bhatti. A terrorist blocked Bhatti’s car as he left his mother’s house and murdered him in broad daylight. Everyone knew that the death sentence would be carried out sooner or later.