Pakistan (MNN) — An Islamic cleric
in Pakistan has just put a contract out on Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused
Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "Earlier this month, a mullah in
Pakistan offered a 500,000 rupee bonus for anyone who kills Asia Bibi. So,
literally, he has put a price on her head."
Following the mullah's statement, Muslims–including representatives from
extremist groups–protested against Asia and a proposed amendment of the
blasphemy law. Protests were held in many major cities in Pakistan.
On November 8, 2010, a judge sentenced Bibi to death. "That sentence is
being appealed right now. While the appeal is going forward though, she is
being held in prison. She continues to be in jail. She has been in jail now
almost 18 months, fighting these charges."
The case has brought international outcry over the injustice on her behalf.
"It's another example of how blasphemy laws are used against Christians
in Pakistan. Any time there is a dispute
of any kind, instantly, blasphemy charges are filed."
Bibi's case stems from her arrest in June 2009 after a heated religious
discussion with some of her co-workers.
Asia told the Muslim women about her faith in Christ, explaining that He died on the cross for our sins. Then, according to VOM sources, she asked them what Mohammed had done for
them. She told them Jesus is alive but Mohammed is
dead. "Our Christ is the true prophet of God," she reportedly told them, "and
yours is not true."
Christians in Pakistan are watching the case coverage; they know the risk they
take identifying themselves with Christ. Nettleton says, "They know that at any time, someone can point the finger
at them and say ‘I heard you say something about Mohamed that was negative. I'm
going to call the police.' Even if
they're found innocent, it can take
years for that to happen, and meanwhile they're in jail."
But the Gospel will not be stopped. In areas where proselytizing or evangelizing
can earn you a stint behind bars or worse, believers focus on the positive
message of the hope of Christ. "Instead
of talking negatively about Islam, or the Koran, or Mohamed, they simply talk
about the Bible and they talk about Jesus, and the fact that He loves us and died for our sins."
VOM contacts are concerned for Asia's safety. In the past, Christians have
been killed in jail, on their way to court, and even after being released from
jail. "Literally, she's not safe anywhere she is right now. Pray for God's
protection over her as this case is going forward."
Pray for Asia's protection during this tense time. Pray for Asia's release
from prison and for her safety after her release. Ask God to minister to her
family, especially her five children. Click here for more ways to pray.