Over a month ago, a Christian woman in Pakistan named Asia Bibi was acquitted
on appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the charge of blasphemy, of which
a lower court had sentenced her to death in 2010.
Such charges were the result of an argument that Bibi had with some farmhands
back in 2009. It started when she went to fetch some water for the other farmhands (who were Muslim) from a well, but before doing so, stopped to take a drink by using a metal cup near the well. Her actions were noticed by the Muslim farmhands, who angrily informed her that it was forbidden for Christians to drink from the same cup as Muslims, since Muslims in Pakistan consider Christians to be unclean. They then demanded that Bibi convert to Islam. But Bibi refused, even asking why it should be her and not them who should be converting to another religion.
This remark led to a heated discussion, of which Bibi was accused of blasphemy by making derogatory comments about Mohammed. Such accusations are most likely trumped-up charges, a common occurrence in Pakistan when Muslims have disputes with non-Muslims.
Bibi was later attacked by a mob and later arrested and charged with blasphemy.
A year later, she was sentenced to death by hanging- in a trial that lasted only thirty minutes and with no cross-examination of any witnesses. The sentence resulted in celebration among the attendees.
In 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld the lower court’s decision. But the Supreme Court acquitted Bibi of the charges due to discrepancies among the witnesses for the prosecution.
Bibi’s acquittal resulted in rioting throughout Pakistan. Muslims have called for her death, and are conducting searches of various homes in an attempt to find her. So far she has managed to stay ahead of them by moving from safe house to safe house.
Despite the acquittal, Bibi is unable to leave Pakistan due to the prosecution filing a petition against the Supreme Court’s decision, claiming that the ruling was “erroneous” and should be reversed.
Needless to say, Asia Bibi (and her family for that matter) are in grave danger as long as they as they remain in Pakistan. They could go to Britain, but British authorities rejected that idea for fear that Muslims might riot in Britain (note: they are already causing havoc there anyway, e.g. terrorist attacks, rapes), and possibly put its embassy and consulates in danger (hence a repeat of the American Embassy in Iran being stormed by Islamists in 1979).
Other countries (e.g. Australia, Italy) have apparently offered Bibi asylum. But as Hugh Fitzgerald of Frontpage Magazine pointed out, it would be best if she was offered asylum in America or the Vatican.
Whether or not Asia Bibi is given asylum and makes it out of Pakistan alive is yet to be seen.
So in the meantime, she will be living in fear for her life.