March 2019 Church & State Magazine - March 2019

Pakistani Accused Of Blasphemy Hopes To Move

  Rob Boston

Pakistan’s highest court in late January freed a woman who had spent eight years on death row after being accused of blasphemy, and she and her family hope to soon leave the country.

Asia Bibi and her husband plan to move to Canada, where the couple’s two daughters are already living, Reuters reported. Bibi, 55, was convicted in 2010 of making derogatory remarks about Islam. A coworker on the farm where Bibi was employed asserted that she had made negative comments about Islam, including asking him, “What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?”

A court held that the evidence against her was false, and she was released. But Islamic extremists threatened to kill her, and Bibi had to go into hiding. The atmosphere in that Muslim-majority country is so charged that two politicians who publicly supported Bibi and advocated changing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws were assassinated.

Last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was willing to take in Bibi and her husband. The country has given refuge to other people who are fleeing religious persecution and violence.

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