She spent eight years in prison, under horrible conditions, just for being a Christian.
Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian who was facing the death penalty for trumped-up blasphemy charges, is free and reunited with her family in the relative safety of Canada.
Yet continued death threats from Pakistani Muslims have required her and her family to live in secrecy and Bibi will have to live under an assumed name from now on.
Still, those who have been fighting for her release were pleased, and hopeful that this sends a good sign out of Pakistan.
Senator Rand Paul, who has been fighting for her freedom for years, issued the following statement:
“I am thrilled that Asia Bibi has finally been released from Pakistan and is now safe in Canada. For eight long years, this Christian woman was on death row on blasphemy charges. I stood for her freedom every step of the way, and today we are thankful for her liberty. Such an injustice should never happen again,” said Dr. Paul.
“Following a disagreement with neighbors, Asia Bibi was charged with blasphemy and sentenced to death row in 2010. After an international outcry, the Pakistani Supreme Court stayed her execution and ultimately acquitted her in October 2018, upholding the verdict in January 2019.
Throughout her ordeal, Dr. Paul worked to turn up the pressure on Pakistan for her release, including alerting Americans about her situation, pushing to end U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan, and introducing a resolution urging Pakistan to release her and to reform its laws that have led to the targeting of religious minorities. Dr. Paul also called for the U.S. to grant Asia Bibi asylum and discussed her situation directly with President Donald Trump.”
“It is a big day,” Saiful Malook, Bibi’s lawyer, told The Guardian. “Asia Bibi has left Pakistan and reached Canada. She has reunited with her family. Justice has been dispensed.”
But justice was a long-time coming. Bibi’s ordeal started in June 2009, when she was beaten severely for the “crime” of drinking from the same well as Muslims in her village.
According to the British Pakistani Christians Association (BPCA), while she was being beaten, she said, “My Christ died for me, what did Muhammed do for you?” The workers increased the severity of their attack on her and when they were finished beating her close to death, they returned with a lynch mob to finish the job.
Some fellow local Christians called the police and asked that they come get Bibi to save her from the angry mob. Unfortunately an Imam formally accused her of blasphemy, claiming, with no proof at all, that he had witnessed the blasphemy (this was, of course proven false).
Still, Bibi spent eight long years in prison and actually lost her appeal to the Pakistani Supreme Court in November 2016.
But then, on October 31, 2018, the Supreme Court exonerated her of all charges. Still she was required to remain in Pakistan under “house arrest” while the court considered a petition filed by the Islamist group Tehreek-e-Lebaik (TLP).
Muslim mobs, in Pakistan, and around the world are still demanding she be hanged for her alleged blasphemy, despite her full exoneration.
The simple fact that Bibi was able to win her appeal and get out of Pakistan alive was a miracle in itself. Pakistan has amazingly harsh blasphemy laws with extreme penalties including death. And by the day after her exoneration, Islamists wielding clubs blocked highways and pelted police with stones in a number of Pakistani cities, including the capital city of Islamabad and Karachi.
Her release, and safe arrival in Canada, gives hope to the 15 Christians still imprisoned in Pakistan, some of whom are facing their own death sentences.
So while Asia Bibi is finally free and has escaped from Pakistan, she will never be totally safe as long as Muslims continue to demand she be executed for the “crime” of being a Christian.
And around the world, Christians are under attack like never before as radical Islamists impose laws similar to Pakistan’s and jihadists torture and behead Christian aid workers and missionaries.
American Christians must be deep in prayer for all of the Asia Bibi’s out there and in prayer that the United States does not fall victim to this kind of barbaric Sharia law.