We here in the United States have a seemingly neverending supply of anti-Christian trolls attacking people’s freedom to celebrate Christmas anywhere but in their own homes and churches, but despite that, Christians in the U.S. have it pretty good relative to the rest of the world. Consider the case of Pakistani Christian and mother Asia Bibi who has spent the last 6 Christmases in a prison cell after being accused of blaspheming Islam.
This will be the seventh consecutive Christmas mother-of-five Asia Bibi will spend in solitary confinement within the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – a country that has what the United Nations describes as “one of the worst situations in the world for religious freedom”.
A member of the Christian minority, just 1.6% of the population, 45-year-old Asia Bibi was jailed after being found guilty of breaching Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.
The incident that landed Bibi in prison and on death row is unbelievably mundane. There is something wrong with a society where such an incident results in any law enforcement involvement, let alone prison and death sentences.
The original incident, which occurred in June 2009, centred around Asia Bibi sharing a bowl of water with fellow workers in a field, about 30 miles (48km) from Lahore, where they were working as farm labourers.
It’s alleged that an argument erupted after some of the women felt it was sacrilegious for Muslims to share the cup with a Christian. Within weeks, the allegations had escalated to the charge of blasphemy, with some fellow workers accusing her of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. She was arrested and imprisoned.
Despite reports of inconsistent witness testimony and fragmentary evidence, she was found guilty in November 2010. Large crowds gathered to celebrate her sentencing, and there soon followed a trail of death and destruction.
Asia Bibi’s case is under appeal and if the Supreme Court of Pakistan denies the appeal she will be put to death. Many have already died as a result of this case though.
A month after sentencing, Asia Bibi was visited by the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer. He emerged from jail and stated that the blasphemy laws had been misused and wrongly applied in her case. Within days, he was murdered by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri.
Two months later, in March 2011, the Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti – the only Christian in the Pakistan cabinet – criticised the country’s blasphemy laws as being open to abuse and manipulation.
After leaving his mother’s house, his car was sprayed with bullets: a second assassination in a matter of weeks and both apparently linked to the case of Asia Bibi.
This year, suicide bombers attacked an Easter celebration in a public park, killing 75 people and injuring more than 300.
The blasphemy laws are reportedly supported by a majority of Pakistanis, most of whom would probably fall into the “peaceful Muslim” category social justice warriors always invoke to propagate their naive cultural relativism. Not all cultures are equal.
A large majority of Pakistani people support the idea that blasphemers should be punished, but there is little understanding of what the religious scripture says as opposed to how the modern-day law is codified.
Many believe the law, as codified by the military regime of General Zia-ul Haq back in the 1980s, is in fact straight out of the Koran and therefore is not man-made.
When Punjab Governor Salman Taseer – a prominent critic of the law – was assassinated by his bodyguard in 2011, Pakistan was divided, with some hailing his killer as a hero.
Meanwhile the American left demonizes anyone who would suggest restricting immigration from hotbeds for totalitarian Islam. It is neither bigoted nor unjust to limit the flow of people or apply “extreme vetting” to refugees and potential immigrants from places where public opinion is fundamentally incompatible with American values and the Constitution. Priority should be given to the Christians who are persecuted by Islamic majorities.
This Christmas season, if politically correct nonsense annoys you, offer it up and say a prayer for Asia Bibi.