Tag: Persecution

Christian Girl Burnt Alive For Turning Down A Muslim Man’s Marriage Proposal  

Christian Girl Burnt Alive For Turning Down A Muslim Man’s Marriage Proposal  

A Christian girl in Pakistan was burnt alive after refusing to marry a Muslim man and convert to Islam.

Asma Masih, 25, died in hospital on Sunday after turning down repeated proposals from a local Muslim man, according to Pakistan Today.

Her father, Yaqoob Masih, said Asma had gone to answer the door while working as a domestic help in Sialkot, north-eastern Pakistan, when she was attacked. Yaqoob, who was visiting the house she was working at, claimed he saw ‘Rizwan Gujjar fleeing from the scene while Asma was engulfed in flames’.

The local media reported that sub-inspector Muhammad Riaz of the Civil Lines police said Guijar had confessed to the attack and been arrested.

‘We have prepared the charge-sheet and sent him to jail,’ he said.

Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK, a Christian persecution charity working in Pakistan, said that Christian girls are looked upon as inferior and as a cheap commodity. 

He told Christian Today that while some laws are in place, such as the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace (Amendment) Act 2010 and the Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015, they are difficult to enforce.

Women remain in danger and Pakistan is considered the third most dangerous country in the world for women and children, he said.

‘They are often harassed and intimidated at their workplace. They are often asked to convert to Islam and to marry Muslim colleagues,’ he told Christian Today.

‘If they refuse, they will have face dire consequences – sometimes they are kidnaped and forcibly converted to Islam, and sometimes they are attacked with acid. Such cases are becoming everyday matters and the police hardly make any advances, especially if the victim is Christian.’


Christian Today 

Pakistani Catholic (Asia Bibi) Sentenced To Death For Blasphemy Says Rosary From Pope Francis Is A ‘Great Consolation’

Pakistani Catholic (Asia Bibi) Sentenced To Death For Blasphemy Says Rosary From Pope Francis Is A ‘Great Consolation’

Asia Bibi: Rosary From Pope Francis Is a ‘Great Consolation’

Asia Bibi, the Christian woman condemned to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, has said it is a “miracle” that she has been allowed to keep a Rosary, recently given to her by Pope Francis.

“It is the first time in nine years that I have been able to hold a religious object in my cell,” Asia said, according to a March 15 statement from the Italian branch of the charity, Aid to the Church in Need.

The mother of five added that she had received “this gift with devotion and gratitude” and that the “Rosary will be of great consolation for me, just as it comforts me to know that the Holy Father prays for me and thinks of me in these difficult conditions.”

Jailed in June 2009 and sentenced to death in 2010, Asia has been held in one of the three windowless cells on death row in the southern province of Multan in the Punjab Penitentiary. She received the Rosary from her husband Ashiq and daughter Eisham who visited her in prison on Monday.

Ashiq and Eisham had just returned from their trip to Italy with Aid to the Church in Need, during which they were received in private audience by the Holy Father on Feb. 24.

At that meeting, Pope Francis gave Eisham an extra Rosary to bring to her mother and assured her of his prayers. During their visit to Asia in prison on Monday, Eisham relayed the Pope’s “touching words” and the “emotional meeting” they had with him, during which Eisham embraced the Pope on behalf of her mother, as Asia had instructed.

The daughter and husband also told Asia about the Feb, 24 event they had attended at the Colosseum, when the historical site was lit up red in memory of the Christian martyrs, many of whom were remembered through the testimony of loved ones.

Asia said in the March 15 statement that “international attention to my case is crucial to me” and it is “because of this that I am still alive.” She expressed her thanks to Aid to the Church in Need “not only for me but for all the other victims of the anti-blasphemy law, whose abuse affects religious minorities in particular.”

In comments to the Register March 16, Alessandro Monteduro, Aid to the Church Need’s Italian director, said that “knowing Asia Bibi will be able to pray with a Rosary in her hands after nine years in prison touches all of us.”

He added that he would “never forget” the “affection with which the Holy Father first embraced and kissed Eisham and then specifically gave a Rosary to her, and one for her mother.”

Monteduro, who said Aid to the Church Need’s task is to bring “Faith to where Faith suffers,” said that knowing to have “minimally contributed” to strengthening the faith of a “woman martyred in life” must “push us even more to dedicate our generosity to those who are imprisoned anywhere in the world as a result of the application of a liberticidal law such as the anti-blasphemy law.”

To do this, he stressed the importance of convincing the international community, the media and cultural agencies “that religious freedom is the mother of all freedoms.” Lighting up the Colosseum in red in memory of the blood of the Martyrs was to “signify this,” he said.

Monteduro added that Aid to the Church in Need is trying to combat the “virus of religious fundamentalism” more generally by administering “the vaccine” of supporting persecuted minorities around the word, and is focusing much of its work on Iraq where it has funded projects worth 36 million euro ($44 million) since 2014. 

After the Colosseum event, it made a further 5 million euro ($6.1 million) available for the Niniveh Reconstruction Committee in the Kurdistan (northern Iraq).

The aim, he said, is “to bring Christianity back to the places where it was born” and to those areas “where governments and the UN do not go.” 


National Catholic Register 

Pakistani Catholic Woman Condemned To Death By Hanging For Insulting Islam 

Pakistani Catholic Woman Condemned To Death By Hanging For Insulting Islam 

Asia Bibi

The Asia Bibi blasphemy case involves a Pakistani Christian woman, Aasiya Noreen (born c. 1971; better known as Asia Bibi), convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging in 2010, the Pakistani Catholic is still awaiting her final verdict. 
How It All Started

In June 2009, Noreen was involved in an argument with a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries after the other women grew angry with her for drinking the same water as them. She was subsequently accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a charge she denies, and In June 14, 2009, Asia Bibi was thrown into jail. In November 2010, about a year later a Sheikhupura Judge sentenced her to death for blasphemy, and since 2013, after two transfers, she has been languishing in one of the three windowless cells on death row in the southern province of Multan in the Punjab Penitentiary. A year after the Supreme Court of Pakistan postponed her appeal amid death threats by 150 muftis (Muslim legal experts) against anyone who would assist “blasphemers,” the case has not progressed by one iota. As at August 30, 2017, Asia Bibi had spent 3,000 days in prison.

Her family lives underground. The only thing we know comes from her lawyer, the Muslim Saif ul Malook, who has visited her in recent months. He says she is doing well and is still hoping for her release. On the other hand, the Supreme Court seems to have forgotten the case, and has still not decided whether to confirm her death sentence or to release her.

During those 3,000 days Asia Bibi has never stopped praying and asking for prayers. As a tribute to this Christian who has become an icon for all those who struggle in Pakistan and the world against all violence in the name of religion, this is the prayer she composed in 2016, on the occasion of the Easter celebrations, and which accompanies her in her detention:

Resurrected Lord, allow your daughter Asia to rise again with you. Break my chains, make my heart free and go beyond these bars, and accompany my soul so that it is close to those who are dear to me, and that it remains always near you. Do not abandon me in the day of trouble, do not deprive me of your presence. You who have suffered torture and the cross, alleviate my suffering. Hold me near you, Lord Jesus. On the day of your resurrection, Jesus, I want to pray for my enemies, for those who hurt me. I pray for them and I beg you to forgive them for the harm they have done me. I ask you, Lord, to remove all obstacles so that I may obtain the blessing of freedom. I ask you to protect me and protect my family.

If executed, Noreen would be the first woman in Pakistan to be lawfully killed for blasphemy. 

After Nine years of suffering, anguish and disappointed hopes, let us keep up our prayers and our actions of support for her, because through her we support all the persecuted Christians in their sacrifices.

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