Free Asia Bibi

This from NPR:

It began in the summer of 2009 as a quarrel over water in a sweltering farm field in the province of Punjab. When the heated words were over, Asia Noreen Bibi was charged under the strict blasphemy laws of predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

A Christian wife and mother, the woman commonly known as Asia Bibi was convicted by a district court last month of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad. The punishment is mandatory death and Asia Bibi became the first female in Pakistan to be sentenced to hang for blasphemy.

Asia Bibi at a prison in Sheikhupura near Lahore

APAsia Bibi at a prison in Sheikhupura, near Lahore, on Nov. 20.  She appeared in a televised interview from her prison, tearfully denying the blasphemy charges that led to her death sentence.

Asia Bibi, a Roman Catholic, says she did not commit the crime. The case has drawn international condemnation, and Pope Benedict XVI has called for Asia Bibi’s release.

What will you do today to help free Asia Bibi? The State Department needs to know that you want this matter to be a prominent topic of discussion with Pakistan (202.647.9823).

Anti-Christian atrocities in Pakistan

Horrible. Just horrible. Let’s stand with our brothers and sisters and lift them up.

A spasm of religious violence came to this rural town in the shape of an angry Muslim mob Saturday morning. The Muslims marched to avenge what they believed was the desecration of a Koran one week earlier. When it was over, dozens of houses were torched and Faith Bible Pentecostal Church lay in ruins. Two villagers were shot dead, residents said. Five others, including two children, burned alive.

Killing has become commonplace in Pakistan. But this attack startled the country both for its ferocity and for its stark message to religious minorities. Many saw the violence as further evidence of the growing power of the Taliban and allied Islamist militant groups in Punjab province, home to about half of Pakistan’s population.

“They have made up their minds to crush Christianity. They always call us dogs of America, agents of America,” said Romar Sardar, an English teacher from the area. “There has been no protection by the police. Nothing.”

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