Asia Bibi and Why She Matters


Alumni from CBU and from the BAT program texted me today and tagged me on social media to make sure I noticed the release of Aasiya Noreen (better known as Asia Bibi). They remember praying for her many times in various classes over the years. Finally, Asia Bibi has now been released, after more than 8 years in jail.

Asia grew up in Punjab Province in Pakistan. She is a Christian woman—the only one inAsia Bibi Persecution Pakistan Pray her village. She and her husband have two daughters together. She also has three stepchildren from her husband’s previous marriage. Her husband and two daughters left Pakistan and relocated to London, England, for their safety, while Asia’s appeals continued at a snail’s pace through Pakistani courts.

No credible evidence was established to prove that Asia committed blasphemy against Muhammad. However, she remained in custody. The reason? Fear. Muslim judges and political leaders have not taken up her case because doing so would likely mean giving their lives. Even knowing the stakes, two governing officials over the years have tried to help Asia.

Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer came to Asia’s aid in 2011. On the basis of Justice, he pleaded for her release. He was shot by one of his own security team members. Upon hearing of Taseer’s death, Asia reportedly wept inconsolably, knowing that this man sacrificed his life for her.

Another of her advocates—Shabaz Bhatti—worked through parliament to end Pakistan’s infamous “Blasphemy Law 295c.” Bhatti was the only Christian member of Pakistan’s Cabinet. He was the Minority Affairs Minister. On March 2, 2011, gunmen ambushed Bhatti’s car near his house, killing him. He knew the stakes and had told his closest companions he was willing to die for justice.

Today, three Muslim judges–chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar and justices Khosa and Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel—have risked their own lives for the cause of truth and justice. In their decision, they quoted Muslim sources demonstrating that, yes, blasphemy is awful, but so, too, is falsely accusing others of it and sentencing them to death. Knowing they have righted the wrong of sentencing Asia to death, these courageous Muslim judges have now put themselves at risk of the same.

The Red Mosque in Paris, the Islamist TLP in Pakistan, and Muslims throughout the region have little interest in justice. They demand blood. They are angry. But James taught us long before Muhammad was born that the anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God. May the Lord strengthen all people of good will to protect Asia, her family, and these courageous Muslim judges and against the bloodthirsty mobs.

Christian Killed in Pakistan


You might remember that as the drama of Said Musa was unfolding, I pointed out that part of the difficulty facing the Afghan government was the threat of an uprising among the masses of Muslims who would be outraged by leaders unwilling to execute the death penalty against those who supposedly blaspheme the prophet Mohammad by converting to Christ.  I suggested that Afghanistan need only look to the south to see what might happen.  Just two months ago, more than 50,000 Pakistanis protested in favor of a murdering bodyguard who killed the governor he was supposed to be protecting simply because that governor had the audacity to question the legitimacy of killing someone on account of his being a Christian.

Now, it has happened again.  The only Christian in the Pakistani government was killed yesterday.  Shahbaz Bhatti, a Roman Catholic who was outspoken in his opposition to the truly barbaric anti-blasphemy laws in Pakistan, was gunned down while he sat in a car outside of his mother’s home.  Bhatti was 42 years old.  He was the minister of minority affairs in Pakistan.  His life’s work was given to bringing about unity among the various people groups of Pakistan.  Peace, unity, social justice, inter-faith harmony, and human equality—these were the ideals for which Shahbaz Bhatti stood.  And these are the ideals for which he died in Pakistan.

I get so frustrated when I see happy little righteous-types in their Honda hybrids sporting their “coexist” bumper stickers—you know the ones that have the crescent moon as the “c,” the Star of David as the “x,” and the cross as a “t.”  I think, how naïve does one have to be to preach coexistence equally to Jews, Christians, and Muslims—as though there is any relation between the “horror” of Christians hoping to keep the definition of marriage in tact and the ungodly appetite for murder prevalent among millions of today’s Muslims.  If one is really concerned about peaceful coexistence, then he ought to join the fight against Islamic jihad.  Decry acts of violence such as this murder of a peaceful Christian who gave his life to inject some sanity into a place that would surely benefit from its effects.

And some other ways to get serious about coexistence?  Stop parading laughable liberal icons like Michael Moore around as though they are saying something courageous.  Whatever he is, Michael Moore is not courageous.  Neither are the activists against traditional marriage courageous.  Nor, as a matter of fact, are environmental activists courageous.  None of these groups—none of these liberal iconic causes—can approach the courage of Shahbaz Bhatti, who actually gave his life for the cause of coexistence.  I am tired of vacuous liberal platitudes in the face of genuine evil.  Real men—like Shahbaz Bhatti—need our encouragement and our aid.  The distance separating the east from the west is a smaller distance than that which separates today’s liberals from men like Shahbaz Bhatti.

Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute points out that Minister Bhatti refused to get married because he did not think it would be fair for a wife and children to live under the constant burden of death threats.  Bhatti determined that he would give his life for the cause of human coexistence in Pakistan.  And, now, this real hero has indeed given his life for that cause. Let’s pray his life was not in vain.