In June of 2009, Asia Bibi, mother of fi…

In June of 2009, Asia Bibi, mother of five, was working in the fields on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees, near the village of Ittanwali, when her boss told her to fetch some water for the rest of the crew.

After Asia brought the water, some of the women–all Muslims–refused to drink it because it had been brought by a Christian, making it “unclean.” The women called Asia an “infidel” and called Christianity a “religion of infidels.”

Asia reportedly responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins. She told them Jesus is alive. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them.

Upon hearing this response, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia.

When Muslim men in nearby fields gathered to attack Asia, she fled to her home, but angry Muslims followed her, took her out of her home, severely beat her, and tortured her children.

They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

When local Christians informed the police, the police saved Asia’s life by taking her into custody, holding her in Nankana city “for her own safety.” Under pressure from local Muslim leaders, the police registered a blasphemy case against her.

Two courts in Nankana found Asia guilty of the “crime” of blasphemy and, on November 8, 2010, Asia was fined US$1,190 and sentenced to death by hanging.

Ashiq Masih, her husband, doesn’t have the heart to break the news to their two youngest daughters.

“They asked me many times about their mother but I can’t get the courage to tell them that the judge has sentenced their mother to capital punishment for a crime she never committed.”

Asia’s case is now under appeal, but she has been being held in isolation since June of 2009, essentially for the crime of sharing her Christian beliefs with her Muslim neighbors. Her family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families. Asia’s family has lived in the village of Ittanwali for many generations.

Between 1986 and August 2009, at least 974 people have been charged with blasphemy against Islam.

This week, an anti-blasphemy resolution, “On Combating Defamation of Religion,” is coming to a vote at the U.N.

Pakistan has been actively pushing for passage of this resolution since 1999.

One thing you can count on, passage of this resolution will not offer protection for Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, or any other non-Muslims.

More Shariah law, anyone?
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Cross-posted at Bread upon the Waters.