by Hannes Wessels
Ten years ago, a married mother of two children who happened to be a Catholic Christian and therefore part of a small religious minority, was picking berries near her home 30 miles outside Lahore when she took a drink of water from a metal cup at the communal well. A Muslim neighbour spotted this and pointed out that drinking from the cup violated the prohibition on Christians coming into contact with Muslims because the cup she used may reach the sacred lips of one of them and cause damning spiritual harm. In order to atone and avoid punishment for this ‘crime’ she was instructed to convert immediately to Islam or face the consequences but refused with the words: “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?”
This earned her a savage beating from an angry mob and the police were soon on the scene; not to protect her and arrest her assailants but to take her away and toss her into jail where she waited a year before being sentenced to death by hanging under the country’s brutal blasphemy laws. After 10 years in a windowless cell on Death-Row in the Punjab Penitentiary she is currently under a form of house-arrest and is held pending a review of the lower court’s decision by the country’s Supreme Court. The review may take years and if the angry fundamentalists threatening violence have their way she will be returned to prison and executed. Latest reports indicate she is being moved frequently as she is being energetically stalked by extremists bent on killing her.
Asia Bibi now looks anxiously to the politicians and clerics of the great Western Christian democracies and organisations like the United Nations for her rescue and salvation but she is in all likelihood underwhelmed by the tepid response.
Pope Francis appears to have more pressing problems to deal with like the scourge of capitalism, global warming and the treatment of waves of Muslim immigrants to Europe who he speaks out strongly in support of insisting they should be welcomed unconditionally and generously accommodated. While he seems terribly concerned about the plight of Muslims who are religiously bound to act aggressively towards the infidels of the West he’s strangely silent on the precarious position two and a half million Christians find themselves in in Pakistan where they live poverty-stricken lives, despised and derided by a hostile majority and often the victims of violent attacks. He is also outraged by President Trump’s desire to build a wall on the Mexican border to protect the country from uncontrolled illegals but when I last checked the wall around the Vatican was still there. It goes without saying this particular ‘virtue-signaller’ has offered no assistance to this poor woman.
Unsurprisingly, neither has Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury been of any help but he is simply following the political leadership. The British government has made it clear they do not want Asia in the country because it might upset and induce a violent reaction from angry British Muslims who Prime Minister Theresa May routinely reminds the citizenry, congregate to form a ‘religion of peace’. Funny how British Muslims never seem to get angry about non-Muslims being the victims of violence and woe betide anyone who might want to help those people. While Jihadists returning from wars where British soldiers are in the firing line appear welcome under Home Office rules, there appears to be no door open for Asia Bibi. The British Home Secretary, Sajid David, is himself a Muslim of Pakistani parentage and so he’s not able to assist. Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association says, ‘This is shocking. Britain has historically had a quick response to come to the aid of those suffering human rights abuses. But a Christian mother who has been exonerated has not been offered asylum.”
London mayor, Sadiq Khan, also of Pakistani Muslim ancestry, who claims to aim at making London a safe place, (a ‘sanctuary city’ in American parlance) for people in distress, also appears unable to help. But we must not forget it was Sadiq Khan the solicitor who defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan when Farrakhan was denied a UK visa. His client at the time, is on the record referring to Jews as ‘Bloodsuckers’, maintains that ‘murder and lying comes easy to white people’ and has assured his disciples that ‘a decree of death has been passed on America. The judgement of God has been rendered and she must be destroyed’.
Her best hope might lie with the president of the country Farrakhan wishes destroyed. Republican Senator Rand Paul has taken up Asia’s cause and has met with President Trump to urge him to offer her asylum. Her survival might well lie in the hands of the leader of the country the Iranians like to call ‘The Great Satan’.