Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Matt 24 watch, 217: The Asia Bibi case of false accusation of blasphemy, demand to convert to Islam to escape unjust judgement and a questionable death sentence and incarceration in Pakistan

Asia Bibi, unjustly in gaol under life-
threatening conditions and under
false sentence of death for "blasphemy"
in Pakistan (Fr: Facebook page)
For four years now -- as I have just learned, Asia Bibi, a poor Pakistani farm worker and Christian mother of five who is now 42 years old, has been falsely imprisoned in Pakistan under a highly questionable death sentence, having been patently falsely accused of blasphemy against Mohammed (and so also, Allah), and after refusing to violate conscience by "converting" to Islam in compensation at the demand of a mob that had just been beating her. 

I must ask a question: 
Do not those who seem to have taken a minor dispute over a goat, and built it up into a manufactured dispute over a poor Christian farm-worker in the heat of day daring to drink water from the same well as Muslims, then making disrespectful accusations against Jesus to provoke words in defence of her conscience,  then twisting those extorted words into a blatantly false accusation and then physically assaulting a poor mother working to support her family, then using the unjust Blasphemy law of Pakistan to threaten her conscience as the alternative to being tried before an unjust judge [Hon Mr Muhammed Naveed Iqbal, this means you -- you are individually, personally accountable before God for justice . . . . ] under a law that it is all but impossible for the accused to vindicate him or herself, not see that it is they who have committed the real blasphemy?
The apostle James puts it this way:
James 3:7 . . .  every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,3  these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. [ESV]
In short, to disrespect, curse, oppress and abuse another human being, who is equally made in the likeness of God as we are, is to disrespect God who made that human being.

And yes, I know this is a radical challenge to us all, let us pause and ponder it soberly before God.

Let us also pause and watch a CBN video news report, bearing all of this in mind:

Next, The Voice of the Martyrs has a petition, A Call for Mercy, which I highly recommend. 

Any person of good conscience -- it matters not what your beliefs are, justice for the oppressed must be priority -- should immediately pause from reading this and take the couple of minutes required to sign it.

Before closing, let us hear Asia Bibi in her own words, as reported in the New York Post, Aug 24/5th:
June 14, 2009, is imprinted on my memory. I can still see every detail.

That morning I got up earlier than usual, to take part in the big falsa-berry harvest. I’d been told about it by Farah, our lovely local shopkeeper. “Why don’t you go falsa picking tomorrow in that field just outside the village? You know the one; it belongs to the Nadeems, the rich family who live in Lahore. The pay is 250 rupees.” . . . .
A hard-faced woman dressed in clothes that had been mended many times came over to me with an old yellow bowl.
“If you fill the bowl you get 250 rupees,” she said without really looking at me.
I looked at the huge bowl and thought I would never finish before sunset. Looking at the other women’s bowls, I also realized mine was much bigger. They were reminding me that I’m a Christian.
The sun was beating down, and by midday it was like working in an oven. I was dripping with sweat and I could hardly think or move for the suffocating heat. In my mind, I could see the river beside my village. If only I could have jumped into that cool water!
But since the river was nowhere near, I freed myself from my bushes and walked over to the nearby well. Already I could sense the coolness rising up from the depths.
I pull up a bucketful of water and dip in the old metal cup resting on the side of the well. The cool water is all I can think of. I gulp it down and I feel better; I pull myself together.
Then I start to hear muttering. I pay no attention and fill the cup again, this time holding it out to a woman next to me who looks like she’s in pain. She smiles and reaches out . . . At exactly the moment Musarat pokes her ferrety nose out from the bush, her eyes full of hate:
“Don’t drink that water, it’s haram!” . . . .
“Listen, all of you, this Christian has dirtied the water in the well by drinking from our cup and dipping it back several times. Now the water is unclean and we can’t drink it! Because of her!”
It’s so unfair that for once I decide to defend myself and stand up to the old witch.
“I think Jesus would see if differently from Mohammed.”
Musarat is furious. “How dare you think for the Prophet, you filthy animal!” [Read it all here.]
Now, obviously this is the result of a longstanding dispute between two women (it seems tracing to some damage done by a goat), now carried to false accusations and unjust threat to life.

Enough is enough.

And, Salman Taseer, the Governor of the province of Punjab -- a Muslim -- saw that.

He protested the oh so easily abused Blasphemy Law and the unjust sentence in this case, and was murdered by his own bodyguard. Who -- tried, convicted and sentenced for murder -- is being treated as a hero by extremists..

His son seems to have been kidnapped.

Likewise, the sole Christian in Pakistan's Cabinet, Minister for Minority affairs, objected to the law and was murdered by gunmen near his residence.

False accusation, unjust sentence to death, incarceration under conditions that are so unhygienic that Asia has become gravely ill, and the murder of two prominent persons who spoke up for her and against the unjust law that threatens to put a rope around her neck. All, tracing to the barbarous terms of the Sharia law that in effect treats people as inferior for the crime of not being Muslims. Indeed, one of the reasons why one cannot vindicate oneself under this law, is the deeply ingrained presumption in Islamic judicial thought, that a non-Muslim's words are in effect worth nothing in testimony when opposed by those of a Muslim.

For shame!

It is time that we recognised the true blasphemy here, gross disrespect for, abuse of, threatening the conscience of, and unjustly sentencing to death -- death for a drink of water from a well in a hot field! -- a human being made in God's image.

It is high time for reformation of law in Pakistan, and it is high time for the countries of the Caribbean -- sister Commonwealth countries and countries who play cricket in the same field as Pakistan's International teams -- to speak out. 

Loud and clear.


It is long since high time to free Asia Bibi from an unjust sentence, and return her safely to her family, which will doubtless need to be given a home overseas, one beyond the reach of proven murderous extremists.

Can our region not rise to the occasion? END