Pakistan (MNN) — A Pakistani woman receives yet another threat to her life. Asia Bibi, a Christian in Pakistan who was accused of blasphemy in 2009, is faced with a potential judicial death sentence in her case in addition to death threats from Islamic groups who protest against her.
Carl Moeller with Open Doors USA says, "The latest tragic development is that a hardline cleric in Pakistan is actually offering a reward for anyone who will kill Asia Bibi if the government does not put her to death."
The announcement was made by Maulana Yousef Qureshi at a rally in the northwestern town of Peshwar. He told people that his mosque would give $6,000 to the person who would take Asia Bibi's life.
In June of 2009, Bibi had been in a heated argument with some Islamic women and was called "infidel," she but had dismissed it and went on with her regular tasks for the day. Later, a group of Muslims accused her of blasphemy against the Muslim Prophet Muhammad and dragged her away. Her family reported the incident, and police took her into custody. The courts then proceeded to charge her with blasphemy, and she has been in jail waiting her final sentence.
Open Doors reports Asia Bibi saying to a Compass Direct News reporter, "How can an innocent person be accused, have a case in court after a false FIR [First Information Report], and then be given the death sentence, without even once taking into consideration what he or she has to say?"
The claims that were brought up against Asia at the beginning of her trials are now being considered false, and there is possibility of a presidential pardon. The Islamic groups in Pakistan are not happy that it looks as if the court is leaning toward setting Bibi free and have protested against this.
Open Doors has come together with the United Nations to try and put a stop to the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. A petition has been signed by 425,000 people around the world against the laws in hopes that it will stop innocent lives being put to death. Moeller says they hope that the number of signatures will continue to grow and will make an impact when presented to the United Nations.
Open Doors hopes that Christians in Pakistan and around the world will continue to stay strong in the faith and that the Lord will move in a powerful way. Moeller says that Asia Bibi's case won't be swept under the rug and forgotten but that the world will hear about and stop the death sentences.
"We continue to stand with the church in Pakistan. We continue to help them face the incredible pressure, the almost unimaginable pressure, that they are under every day by spiritual means, by encouragement through Bibles and training, through advocacy, speaking out on their behalf," says Moeller.
Pray for Asia Bibi and her family that they will stay strong through the court cases and that she will be protected from these death threats if she is pardoned. Pray for her children to be comforted and her husband encouraged in this situation.