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Asia Bibi: a source of contention

By April 5, 2016

Pakistan (MNN) — Christians are causing problems for Pakistan’s leaders.

(Photo courtesy FMI)

(Photo courtesy FMI)

Over 50 Christians died on Easter Sunday when suicide bombers targeted a park. A break-away faction of the Taliban, the Jama’at-ul-Ahrar — an alleged “enemy” of the Pakistani government — quickly took credit for the attack.

According to the Institute for Conflict Management, last week’s attack was the second-worst targeting of Christians inside Pakistan.

This week, Asia Bibi — a Christian woman accused of blasphemy — has Pakistan’s government caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

“The national government in Pakistan, they have these protestors on one side of them demanding her execution,” explains Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).

“They want to ‘pacify’ the radical Muslims. But, then they have the worldwide community saying, ‘What are you doing? Why would you allow that even to happen?'”

Meanwhile, Allen says things on the ground are heating to a boil.

Asia Bibi “offenses”

asiabibi

(Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

From the beginning, the intensity surrounding Asia Bibi’s case has garnered a high level of attention.

“Her case has been a ‘lightning rod’ regarding blasphemy law abuses. Hardline Muslims want her dead,” Allen shares.

“Only her family is allowed to see her, and her husband prepares all of her meals for her.”

As explained here, Bibi was charged with blasphemy in 2009, when defending her faith during a conversation with Muslim co-workers. The following year, Asia Bibi became the first woman in Pakistan to receive a death sentence for blasphemy.

Despite years of international outcry on her behalf and numerous appeals, Asia Bibi remains a captive of the state. Please ask the Lord to intervene on her behalf.

“Life in prison has gotten very difficult for her…. She’s been shuffled from one secure location to another.”

Asia Bibi’s life also happens to a concern for Mumtaz Qadri supporters, who swarmed Islamabad last week.

“They have a list of 10 demands,” says Allen. “One of them is the immediate implementation of Sharia law. [Another] is the execution of Asia Bibi.”

Mumtaz Qadri (YouTube)

Mumtaz Qadri
(YouTube)

Qadri was executed earlier this year — a punishment set forth by Pakistani law — for assassinating his employer, Salmaan Taseer, in 2011. Formerly the governor of Punjab province, Taseer was a known supporter of Asia Bibi and a critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

It was for these two “offenses” that Qadri shot the governor multiple times. Today, “People are making him [Qadri] a martyr and a hero.

“There were a few thousand people in Islamabad for several days, marching in protest and [starting] riots.”

What YOU can do about it

Meanwhile, national pastors and church leaders supported by FMI are helping Christians in Lahore overcome the horrors of Easter Sunday.

“A day that was supposed to be one of rejoicing turned into one of mourning,” shares Allen.

“Pastors and other church leaders are dealing with their grieving communities, their churches. They’re [also] thinking about [church security]; ‘How do we deal with security issues so that people can feel free to worship?'”

(Photo courtesy FMI)

(Photo courtesy FMI)

Click here to send a note of encouragement to Pakistani Christians via Facebook. Allen says the comments will be collected and shared with believers in Pakistan.

“Those words, those prayers, carry a lot of meaning because it helps people know that they are connected to the Body of Christ and they are not forgotten.”

You can also help by clicking here and contributing to FMI’s Tangible Resources fund. “I have a request right now for several cartons of Bibles; they want to use them for evangelism and discipleship.”

15 Comments

  • We pray for you and Asia Bibi daily. You are not alone. Jesus will never leave or forsake you.

  • I am so sorry for the attack on you all. Please stay strong -it won’t be long-there’s a crowd of witnesses watching you. I am praying for you!

  • Farh says:

    Only 5 to 6 christian suffered in attack. Saying Pakistani Media..

  • Eileen Ahart says:

    It is a difficult time dear brothers and sisters in Christ—please know that the West is faithful in praying for you.

  • Ricky Sikes says:

    several years ago the Lord caused me to read about persecution. I didn’t want to read it,but I was compelled to. For all this time I have wept, prayed, grieved, and felt a part of the suffering followers of Christ around the world.for the Holy Spirit to make me learn about you tells how much you are loved and watched over by our Savior. I know He must be putting you on the hearts of His children every where. He brings all of you to my heart when I am taking communion. Many times when He does this I cry. I don’t know any of you personally, but to me you are my church family. The spirit gave me a Psalm of lament which I wrote down and shared with the believers here. I post mission reports about you on face book. I ask for prayers for all of you in Bible classes. I have asked the Lord to keep you on my heart and in my prayers always, and He is doing it. I truly believe that the prayers I pray for you today are the prayers He will also answer when persecution comes here. You are much loved. I am encouraged by your endurance, your love for our Lord, and the strength God has given you to be His witnesses . One day we will meet in the new heaven and earth. We will no longer suffer, and all of this will be forgotten. We will join hands and hearts and praise our Eternal God forever. Please pray for us, too. So many things are honored above our Lord, which I know grieve Him. All idols must be cast down before Him. Remember- you are not forgotten. To try to stop the Spirit from causing prayers to be prayed for you would be like trying to stop the wind when it blows. May all of you experience His peace.

  • Jim Pike says:

    Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
    I can not pretend to know the depth of your sorrow as I have not yet resisted unto blood. Corrie Ten Boom who survived the Nazi concentration camps said that there is no darkness so deep that HIS love is not deeper still. Take encouragement from the words of Jesus our LORD.
    “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5;10
    I will continue to pray for you all. LORD bless.

  • Dear Christian brothers & sisters in Pakistan, our deepest condolences are with you at this very sad & difficult time. We await the day when we meet Christ in the air to come together with all believers in the heavens & give praise & worship to Him for eternity! where there will be no more death or sorrow or sadness or anger, but only peace, joy, & love with all of our brothers & sisters that we have prayed for many years! We pray now that God will strengthen you & hold you near to Him as you grieve for these precious souls that you will miss until you reunite with them in heaven. We know our Awesome & Omnipresent God will be with you & lift you up to make you witnesses for Him until that day comes. We thank God for people like you that are excellent examples of how we should live for Him in the USA, willing to stay true to Christ’s name, knowing you may suffer terribly for it, even giving your very lives. May God’s deep & abiding love be with you all. We love you in Jesus’ Wonderful name!!

  • helen says:

    Dear Asia , I remember so many years ago when I first heard of your arrest and imprisonment for sharing a cup of water. I saw the beautiful picture of you and your children. It was, and is, heartbreaking. You have been on my heart all these years. May our precious Lord continue to protect you and may His peace and grace be your portion until the day you are free. You are loved by many around the world.

    The LORD bless and keep you
    The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
    The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
    Amen.

  • kelly aukamp says:

    I pray that the Lord gives you His strength in your persecution,
    You are not alone, and you are not forgotten. I pray for you.

  • I am praying for you my dear sister. The Lord sees each year you shed and he will deliver you in his perfect timing. Hold onto his hand in trust and see his faithfulness revealed in each day ahead. Continue to praise him with the gratefulness he has given you in spite of what the enemy does and always remember, Greater is he that is in you then he that is in the world.

  • Lindy Wise says:

    Dear Sister: We love you and are praying for you. May the Lord bless, protect, and strengthen you. Jeremiah 20:10 For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
    11 BUT THE LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.
    Jer 20:12 But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.
    Jer 20:13 Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
    May the Lord give you songs in the night. Be blessed and protected sister. Lindy

  • Lynn H says:

    Asia, I have been praying God’s sustaining grace on your life, and that all of your needs will be met according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus for 4 years. I will continue to pray until you are released and home with your family, His grace is sufficient and His arm is not too short…He holds all things in His control. In Jesus Name.

  • Annette Reed says:

    We have not forgotten you Asia we have a picture of you to remind us to pray for you and your family. I know God will deliver you at the appointed time. Be strong Asia in the power of His might, when you are weak his strength is being made perfect in you. He will sustain you until that day of liberty comes. We pray for provision protection and strength and encouragement for you and your family, In Jesus name. Grace and Peace!

  • Lynn Shelley says:

    Dear Asia,
    Tomorrow we will be praying for you and your family in our church service. You are not forgotten. Many people in churches all over the world are praying for you and asking t h at our Lord will encourage you and give you His strength.
    God bless you.

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