Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Asia Bibi says she was raped by accusers

Pakistani woman Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, says she was raped at the hands of her accusers.
This is what she told the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who visited Asia in prison two days ago, Fides reports.
Following their conversation, the governor said that the woman “signed an appeal of clemency to President Ali Zardari” and said that she affirms her story, which she will “personally report to the President.”
Bibi says she is innocent, but groups of Islamic fundamentalists have already threatened to kill her if she goes free, Fides says.
Meanwhile, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said he intends to issue a pardon for Bibi, Radio Vatican adds.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has also appealed for her release.
Speaking to Vatican Radio Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha of Lahore says Bibi’s case highlights “how dangerous (Pakistan’s blasphemy) laws are and how from something so small, such as an argument between a group of women, something so serious can take place”.
The Archbishop adds that the infamous blasphemy laws target all civil society as a whole; “since they were first introduced over 1000 cases have been reported"
However he adds, “there can be no comparison in how they affect the minorities. For example when a Christian is accused of blasphemy then his or her family and the entire Christian community often pay the consequences”, which can come in the form of discrimination, persecution and even violence.
Instead “when a Muslim is accused of blasphemy then he or she as an individual pays and no one else”.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Islamic cleric in Pakistan offers $5,800 reward to anyone who kills Christian woman accused of blasphemy

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A hardline, pro-Taliban Pakistani Muslim cleric Friday offered a reward for anyone who kills a Christian woman sentenced to death by a court on charges of insulting Islam.
The sentence against Asia Bibi has renewed debate about Pakistan's blasphemy law which critics say is used to persecute religious minorities, fan religious extremism and settle personal scores. Non-Muslim minorities account roughly 4 percent of Pakistan's about 170 million population.
Maulana Yousef Qureshi, the imam of a major mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar, offered a $5,800 (3,700 pounds) reward and warned the government against any move to abolish or change the blasphemy law.
"We will strongly resist any attempt to repeal laws which provide protection to the sanctity of Holy Prophet Mohammad," Qureshi told a rally of hardline Islamists.
"Anyone who kills Asia will be given 500,000 rupees in reward from Masjid Mohabat Khan," he said referring to his mosque.
While Qureshi is not believed to have a wide following, comments by clerics can provoke a violent response and complicate government efforts to combat religious extremism and militancy.
Qureshi, cleric who has been leading congregation at the 17th century Mohabat Khan mosque for decades, later told Reuters he was determined to see her killed.
"We expect her to be hanged and if she is not hanged then we will ask mujahideen and Taliban to kill her."...
Everyone Please pray for Asia Bibi, also do not forget Hector Aleem Chairman of Peace Worldwide who is in jail due to same charges. Hector Aleem is not convicted, please pray for his release.