Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has for years been on death row in Pakistan for alleged “blasphemy” against Muhammad, was recently acquitted by the Pakistani Supreme Court and ordered to be freed – but she is by no means out of danger. After Muslims riots for days and demanded that she be publicly hanged, the Pakistani government reached a deal with the rioters: if the riots would stop, the Supreme Court decision would be reviewed, and Bibi would be barred from leaving the country.
Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry made excuses for this disgraceful deal: “We had two options: either to use force, and when you use force people can be killed. That is not something a state should do… We tried negotiations and (in) negotiations you take something and you leave something.”
Asked if the Pakistani government was “capitulating to extremists,” which it obviously was, Chaudhry responded: “We need to take steps against extremism, we need to take steps against such kind of violent protesters and we need to come up with a permanent solution. Right now this is not a cure. This is firefighting, what we are doing. The cure is the real thing and our government is committed to the cure.”
Sure it is. This deal is a disgrace, and is plainly, despite Fawad Chaudhry’s denial, a capitulation to the rioters. Barring Asia Bibi from leaving the country contradicts her acquittal — if she has committed no crime according to Pakistani law, why are her movements being restricted? Even worse, barring her from leaving the country grants tacit permission to Muslims to hunt her down and murder her.
It all started for Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic wife and mother, on June 14, 2009 – or more precisely, it all ended for her on that day. She recounted in August 2013:
I, Asia Bibi, have been sentenced to death because I was thirsty. I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.
Picking fruit with a group of Muslim women, Bibi was ordered to fetch water for them – and drank a bit of it herself in the stifling heat. A Muslim woman rebuked her for doing so, saying to the other women: “Listen, all of you, this Christian has dirtied the water in the well by drinking from our cup and dipping it back several times. Now the water is unclean and we can’t drink it! Because of her!”
Bibi stood up to her, responding: “I think Jesus would see it differently from Mohammed.” That drove the Muslim women into a fury, and they started yelling at Bibi: “How dare you think for the Prophet, you filthy animal!” That’s right, you’re just a filthy Christian! You’ve contaminated our water and now you dare speak for the Prophet! Stupid bitch, your Jesus didn’t even have a proper father, he was a bastard, don’t you know that. You should convert to Islam to redeem yourself for your filthy religion.”
The embattled woman stood her ground, responding: “I’m not going to convert. I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind? And why should it be me that converts instead of you?”
Several days later, she was arrested for blasphemy as an enraged mob beat her and screamed, “Death! Death to the Christian!” She has been in prison ever since, awaiting execution for her “crime.”
When the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled in her favor, it gave ammunition to the Muslims calling for her death by saying that Bibi had made a statement in which she “expressed her full respect to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and the Holy Quran and she offered to take an oath on the Bible to the Investigation Officer (IO) to prove her innocence which was refused by the IO. Therefore, the appellant being innocent deserves acquittal.”
Yes, but Islamic law is unforgiving: no matter how much “respect” she shows to Muhammad now, it doesn’t atone for her alleged “blasphemy.” The Supreme Court was thereby leaving open the door to claims that she should be killed anyway. Even worse, the Supreme Court’s ruling noted that “no one could be allowed to defy the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and be left unpunished.” It added, however, that “there is another aspect of the matter; sometimes, to fulfill nefarious designs the law is misused by individuals leveling false allegations of blasphemy. Stately, since 1990, 62 people have been murdered as a result of blasphemy allegations, even before their trial could be conducted in accordance with law.”
But those baying for her blood don’t believe that the allegations against Asia Bibi are false. Thus the very Supreme Court ruling that acquitted Bibi gave Muslims justification to take to the streets and call for her death, by affirming that blasphemy must not go unpunished.
Asia Bibi has suffered enough. She should be granted asylum in the United States or some other country where she can live in relative safety. It’s a matter of simple justice, something that Asia Bibi has had very little opportunity to experience. Those who hope that Asia Bibi will now receive justice may hope that President Trump will step in and ensure that she is brought to a safe haven – before she is found and murdered by Muslim mobs.
And then Trump should end the alliance with Pakistan. Pakistan is not an ally of the United States and has not been for a considerable period, if, indeed, it ever was. The treatment of Asia Bibi ought to be the occasion for the official ending of this sham alliance.
Article posted with permission from Robert Spencer