On Friday, November 24, some 30 gunmen carrying the Islamic State flag bombed and stormed a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai, about 125 miles northeast of Cairo. They managed to massacre at least 305 people, 27 of whom were children. “The scene was horrific,” said Ibrahim Sheteewi, an eyewitness. “The bodies were scattered on the ground outside the mosque. I hope God punishes them for this.”
Not only is this considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt, but one of the strangest as well. As the NYT’s explains, “The scale and ruthlessness of the assault, in an area racked by an Islamist insurgency, sent shock waves across the nation — not just for the number of deaths but also for the choice of target. Attacks on mosques are rare in Egypt, where the Islamic State has targeted Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims but avoided Muslim places of worship.”
Indeed, whereas the bombing and burning of churches and the slaughter of Christians in Egypt at the hands of, not just ISIS, but Muslim mobs and murderers, is hardly an uncommon occurrence in Egypt, attacks on mosques in the name of jihad naturally are.
One Muslim cleric from the region who requested anonymity best voiced the general view: “I can’t believe they attacked a mosque.” In the West, this selfsame shock of Muslim on Muslim terrorism is used to support the politically correct mantra that terror groups such as the Islamic State truly have nothing to do with Islam—otherwise they would not bomb mosques and kill fellow worshippers of Allah.
Because the attack occurred late Friday—and, as of this writing, it is only Sunday, meaning still the weekend—capitalizing on this tragedy as a way to distance Islam from terrorism has not yet begun in the West; but, if precedent is any indicator, it soon will.
For example, last year during the closing days of Ramadan, a spate of terror attacks occurred in Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia—all Muslim nations; these were followed by a media outpouring of “told you Islam wasn’t responsible for terrorism,” or, to quote Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, “Anyone who believes in religion cannot do such act. They [Islamic State] do not have any religion, their only religion is terrorism.” Speaking after the San Bernardino terror attack that left 14 dead, Barrack Obama agreed: “ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death… Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim.” After the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, which left 130 people dead, the UK’s Independent published an article titled, “Paris attacks: Isis responsible for more Muslim deaths than western victims.” And the Daily Beast argued that, “Before the Paris horror, ISIS was killing Muslims on a daily basis. We Muslims despise these crazy people more than anyone else does…. But the number one victim of this barbaric terror group is Muslims. That’s undisputed.”
Along with distancing Islam from violence—real Muslims are not supposed to kill other Muslims in the name of jihad—this argument further clouds the issue of who is the true victim of Islamic terrorism: Why talk about the Muslim slaughter of non-Muslims—whether Western people, Israelis, or Christian minorities under Islam—when it is Muslims who are the primary victims most deserving of sympathy?
The problem with this argument, however, is that the Islamic State does not view its victims as Muslims. Indeed, mainstream Sunni Islam—the world’s dominant strand of Islam which 90 percent of the world’s Muslims, including ISIS, adhere to—views all non-Sunnis as false Muslims; at best, they are heretics who need to submit to the “true Islam.” This is largely how Sunnis view Shias and vice versa—hence their perennial war. While Western talking heads tend to lump them all together as “Muslims”—thus reaching the erroneous conclusion that ISIS is un-Islamic because it kills “fellow Muslims”—each group views the other as enemies.
A saying attributed to the Muslim prophet Muhammad even validates this: “This umma [nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell.” When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, “al–jama‘a,” that is, the group which most literally follows the example or “sunna” of Muhammad.
Overall, then, when Sunni jihadis slaughter Shias—or Sufis, Druze, and Baha’i—they do so under the exact same logic as when they slaughter Christian minorities, or European, American, and Israeli citizens: all are infidels who must either embrace the true faith, be subjugated, or die.
Concerning Sufis in particular, last January an ISIS commander situated in Sinai “outlined the group’s hatred for Sufis and their practices, including the veneration of tombs, the sacrificial slaughter of animals and what he termed ‘sorcery and soothsaying.’” The Islamic State has further referred to Sufism as a “disease” that needs to be “eradicated.” Accordingly, a year ago, ISIS beheaded Sulayman Abu Hiraz, a Sufi cleric reportedly over 100 years old, on the charge of sorcery.
The argument that ISIS and other jihadi organizations kill fellow Muslims proves nothing. Muslims have been slaughtering Muslims on the accusation that they are “not Islamic enough” or the wrong “kinds” of Muslims from the start: So what can the open non-Muslim—such as the Western infidel—expect? Indeed, if anything, that ISIS kills other “Muslims” only further validates the supremacist and intolerant aspects of Sunnism, which is hardly limited to ISIS. Just look to our good “friend and ally,” Saudi Arabia, the official religion of which is Sunni Islam, and witness the subhuman treatment Shia minorities experience.
In the end, it’s just jihad and more jihad, for all and sundry.
Note: Please pray for Egypt and for the Truth be revealed!
India (Morning Star News) – Six Christians facing false charges, two of them beaten by police, were jailed for a month for praying for a sick woman in eastern India, they said.
After tribal Gondi villagers in Simdega District, Jharkhand state, attacked the Christians on Sept. 16, officers at the local police station refused to listen to the victims and hit two young men among them, 25-year-old Sajan Majhi and Kalender Majhi, 20, they said.
“The police hit Sajan Majhi and Kalender Majhi repeatedly,” said one of those arrested, 35-year-old Dasrath Karketta. “They didn’t give us a chance to speak. If they inquired of us, we could have explained what happened exactly, but they didn’t; instead, they scarred the face of Kalender Majhi. He bled also.”
The police beating followed the thrashing the Christians received from Hindu extremists in Ghosra village, who attacked them while they were praying for healing for the wife of Bikhru Majhi, sources said. Officers jailed the Christians and charged them with “promoting enmity between classes” and insulting religion. They spent a month in jail before being released on bail.
“We spent one month in jail joyously – we sang hymns, read the Bible, prayed and worshipped together in jail,” Karketta said. “We shared the gospel with other inmates in the district jail. There also, people came to Christ. We strongly felt the Lord was using us for His work and were happy about it.”
Karketta, the two young men and James Ba, 30, Balmuni Kumari, 19, and Jagdish Majhi, 50, went to the home of Bikhru Majhi after he asked them to pray for his wife, Nitu Devi, sources said.
“Bikhru Majhi heard our testimonies,” Karketta said. “He was amazed at how I got healed, and he wanted prayers for his wife.”
Before winning a battle against cancer, Karketta had visited several hospitals for treatment, exhausting his family’s financial resources, he said.
“We spent lot of money to a point that there was nothing left in our house, even no food for our children to eat,” Karketta said. “When I came to Christ, I got rid of all ailments, and now I am working, providing for my family and leading my life in Christ: ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”’
Bikhru Majhi is Hindu but believes Christ can heal, and he routinely invites Christians to pray for his wife, who has long been ill, said Singhray Kullu, former pastor of the church in Ghosra village that the arrested Christians attend.
“Bikhru believes the prayers can heal her,” he said.
At around 8 p.m. on Sept. 16, a throng of Hindu villagers surrounded Bikhru Majhi’s house as the Christians prayed for his wife, said the only woman among the six arrested, Balmuni Kumari.
“They surrounded us and started beating the Christian brothers and me,” she told Morning Star News. “We told them it’s not conversion, we only came to pray for a sick woman.”
The villagers were furious, Karketta said.
“We tried telling them, ‘We did not come to murder, or get drunk, or steal, we came to pray at the request of Bikhru, and if this act of us offends you, we ask for forgiveness, please forgive us,’” Karketta said. “We tried our best to make peace, but they did not listen. They beat us, screaming, “Where is your God? Where is your Jesus? What can He do? Call him right now. We also want to see what He can do.’”
At around 11 p.m., police arrived and arrested the Christians, he said. They were taken to T. Tangar Police Station.
“We all are daily laborers, we depend on our earnings each day for our bread,” Karketta said. “From where arises the question of paying people and converting them?”
James Ba and Kalender Majhi of Banspahar village, Jagdish Majhi of Latapani village and Balmuni Kumari of Tukupani Baanstoli village were released on bail on Oct. 16. Dasrath Karketta of Khijri village and Sajan Majhi of Farsapani village were released on bail on Oct. 17.
The 19-year-old Kumari was arrested along with the others at 11 p.m., though arrests of women are not permitted in India after sunset, a legal expert told Morning Star News. He added that if special circumstances require the arrest of a woman after sunset, police are required to assign female police officer.
“No female police constable came for me,” Kumari said. “I was the only woman, and it was frightening. I trusted the Lord.”
Her family came under severe pressure from the Hindus extremists while she was in jail, she said.
“The assailants threatened my mother and father,” she said. “They were asked to leave the village.”
Her brother told Singhray Kullu about the threats in Kumari’s home village.
“The family faced severe opposition because of their faith,” Kullu told Morning Star News. “The Gondis plotted to expel them from the village. Balmuni’s mother went into depression. Things turned normal after her release.”
The time in the women’s jail interrupted her university studies, Kumari said.
“Even in the prison, I prayed and worshipped with other Christians,” she said. “Every Sunday believing sisters from outside visited us and led us in prayer and worship.”
Some of the assailants later apologized to her, she added.
“The people who beat me that day came and asked for forgiveness after my release,” Kumari said. “But there is still bitterness in the hearts of some.”
The Christians were charged with promoting enmity between classes (Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code), punishable by up to three years of prison and/or a fine; maliciously insulting the religion or religious beliefs of any class (Section 295-A), punishable by up to three years of prison and/or a fine; and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention (Section 34).
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, the hostile tone of his National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), against non-Hindus has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians, religious rights advocates say.
India ranked 15th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the countries where Christians experience the most persecution.
The 24 schools belonging to Foundations and bodies associated with Christian minorities in Turkey are experiencing a critical phase again. The beginning of the new school year saw the drop in the number of students enrolled, which could push some of those school institutes to close down. This is what Toros Alcan, president of the Armenian School Foundation Sur Hac Tibrevank and a representative of the Foundations of Minorities within the Turkish Foundations Assembly denounces. In some statements, from the Turkish press, Alcan pointed out the decisive factors behind the crisis of minority schools that legislation equates these school institutes to private ones, greatly reducing the forms of state support they can access. Alcan recalled that minority-based schools operate without profit, their rights are guaranteed in the Lausanne Treaty, and their status cannot be homologated to private schools.
In the last years of the Ottoman Empire, schools belonging to minority communities in the territory of today’s Turkey were 6437. Their number dropped dramatically to 138 in the early years following the foundation of the Turkish Republic when the nationalist politics of the Union and Progress Committee, aiming to build and impose the unique model of the “Turkish citizen”, began to inspire the policy of expulsion of minority groups. The nationalist mentality also saw minority schools as obstacles to such homologation process.
In recent years, namely between 2014 and 2015 (see Fides 4/11/2014), there was a significant increase in the number of schools belonging to the Foundations and institutions linked to Christian communities in Turkey and authorized to receive financial support by the State. In that school year, schools belonging to Foundations linked to various Christian communities had become 55. Of these, 36 belonged to the Armenian community, 18 to the Greek community, and a kindergarten belonged to the Syro-Orthodox community. Already a year later, the number of schools linked to Christian minorities had dropped dramatically, attesting to the current quota of 24 schools.
The difficulties caused the closure of schools especially linked to the small Greek Orthodox minority. Already then – reported local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides – Turkish lawyer Nurcan Kaya, Coordinator of the Minority Rights Group, underlined the urgency of defining a regulatory framework that specified the rights and duties of these schools, clarifying the state funding mechanisms and eliminating the obligation of Turkish citizenship for students (a clause that significantly reduces the number of potential pupils). (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 24/11/2017)
It is good to see red when the red is a sign of #RedWednesday. This is an effort taking place tomorrow, to call attention to those who are persecuted for their faith around the world, using red. Red is the color traditionally associated with Christian martyrs, but this effort is for all victims of persecution and of anti-Semitism globally.
Many thanks to the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21CWI) for introducing this campaign into the United States. #RedWednesday began in the United Kingdom, as a creation of Aid to the Church in Need(ACN-UK). ACN-UK envisioned a day on which the color red would be “floodlit on buildings, churches and other places of worship, social media and various other delivery paths to create awareness about the rising problem of persecution.” And they have been quite successful! The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and even the London Eye — the giant Ferris Wheel — show their solidarity with the persecuted, lighting up with a fiery red glow, on November 22, #RedWednesday.
21CWI envisions a similar response of compassion and solidarity in the United States. They have been encouraging those who want to show solidarity to wear red on November 22, post photos of themselves wearing red on social media (using, of course, the hashtag #RedWednesday), and to use red spotlights or floodlights for the day. 21CWI’s Director of Policy Relations has convictingly added, “The persecuted do not just need your compassion – they need your citizenship. They need you to get other citizens to stand for faith and freedom. #RedWednesday is the first step.”
There are many other suggestions for how to stand in solidarity with the persecuted on the 21CWI website, and in a special dropbox they have created for the occasion. But here is a sample of memes you can use on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to honor the persecuted on #RedWednesday, courtesy of 21CWI:
Today is #RedWednesday! “Wear red, light red” to stand for #ReligiousFreedom for all!
Everyone needs #ReligiousFreedom! #RedWednesday
Around the world 79% of people live in countries with high levels of persecution. #RedWednesday
No one should be denied basic needs because of what they believe! #RedWednesday
I stand with the #persecuted because everyone has a right to #ReligiousFreedom #RedWednesday
Persecution is: denial of services, tearing down houses of worship, mob violence. No more! #RedWednesday
I’m wearing Red to stand with #persecuted people everywhere. #ReligiousFreedom #RedWednesday
You are probably thinking, “this is awfully last minute, Faith, after all, tomorrow is Wednesday, November 22!”
And you’re right! Mea culpa. When you are the one person focusing on international Christian persecution, without an assistant, some things get pushed to the last minute. I know you are preoccupied with family and friends and food. . .but. . .you know the whole Matthew 25 deal. There’s Jesus checking out the sheep and the goats and telling you, His lamb: “I was being persecuted, and you took the time to wear red, share the message of the persecuted, and show Me that you care.”
So lay aside your scheduled sartorial splendor for the day before Thanksgiving and find red garments to wear. Take a photo, tweet a meme, post on Facebook, or do more of the actions suggested by the 21CWI. You will be standing in solidarity with the persecuted. And you will be encouraging them. We will find a way to share your photos with all of our contacts the countries where persecution is taking place so they can let your persecuted brothers and sisters know you not only “see red” because of the injustice, prejudice, cruelty, and pain with which they are afflicted by their persecutors, but that you wore red to show them that you stand with them.
By our friend, Faith McDonnell at IRD
Save the photo below and use it as your cover photo on social media.
(Voice of the Persecuted) November 21, 2017- This morning, VOP was notified that the Thai immigration police raided a condominium in Inthamara 44, Soi Pracha Suk, Din Daeng Distrcit in Bangkok and arrested a Pakistani Christian family.
Mr. Asif Ghouri, his wife along with their 3 grown children, son (Alisha Asif) and two daughters (Rebecca and Jasmine), were arrested during the raid around 3pm (local time).
Mr. Asif was surprised with a knock on the door and when they opened it, the officers were there along with journalists to record their arrest. The family was asked to show proof of identity, either passports or UNHCR cards. Their case had been dismissed by the UNHCR in the mid of 2017, hence their cards had been taken away. The UNHCR deemed they would be safe in Pakistan despite it being the 4th most dangerous country for Christians.
The police pressured them into showing proof of their identity. Mr. Asif had no choice but to give them their passports with no updated visas to stay in Thailand as they were living with UNHCR cards since 2014. Ultimately, the family was taken to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) where they will live in misery and despair, fed nothing but a soupy mixture of cucumber and boiled rice. Based on the UNHCR decision in their case, the family won’t have any chance of being resettled to another country as all UNHCR portals would be inaccessible. They have no other option than to wait while fighting the feelings of hopelessness in finding freedom soon.
The IDC already hosts about 150 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and refugees. Their arrest would make matters worse as they will have to struggle for space inside. Last month, about 35 refugees from Pakistan and Somalia were arrested from Bangkok including 12 children and 7 unaccompanied minors.
The Thai government claims it to be a crackdown on illegal people who are illegally employed. However, our correspondent in Thailand confirms that neither Mr. Asif nor the 35 arrested last month were working illegally in Thailand. This situation is truly alarming and the people need your prayers.
The actions by the Thai government should be condemned. The issue should be brought to the MPs to do more to bring the persecuted brothers and sisters to the United States and other countries. These countries should also step up to condemn this brutal act against our brothers and sisters in Christ.
UPDATE Dec. 4, 2017:
Elias Asif ( arrestrd with the family last week) Fiaz Masih ( arrested from Pratunam Market, Phaya Thai District) Asher Ryan ( arrested from outside his apartment at Vivid Tower Pattanakarn 54 district Suan luang).
Two more Pakistani Christians were arrested on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017
Please remember Pakistani Christian refugees seeking asylum in Thailand. Day by day, their situation grows more volatile with greater risks of arrest.
VOP is on the ground in Thailand. Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope. Please consider our mission, this Christmas, to help care for a family and bring much needed supplies and nutrition to those suffering in the notorious IDC.
HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED
Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183
Donations always desperately needed
Civilians on the island of Mindanao paid a high price with dozens killed and widespread destruction of homes and property amid the ‘battle of Marawi’ that pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) between May and October this year, Amnesty International said in a report today.
The ‘Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines is the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, based on a research trip to Lanao del Sur, Mindanao in September. It documents how IS-allied militants targeted Christian civilians for the worst of the abuses, including at least 25 extrajudicial killings, mass hostage-taking, and extensive looting of civilian property.
Philippine armed forces, meanwhile, detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting. Their extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed civilians, highlighting the need for an investigation into its compliance with international humanitarian law.
“Marawi’s civilian population has suffered immensely amid one of the Philippine military’s most intensive operations in decades. Displaced en masse when the fighting began in May, thousands of people are now returning to a city that has been utterly destroyed in places, where civilians have been slaughtered by militants, and both sides have committed abuses,” said Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.
“The IS-linked militants’ bloody, months-long siege of Marawi took a heavy toll on civilians, with Christians in particular singled out for brutal attacks, including grisly extrajudicial killings.”
Civilians targeted in reign of terror…Read More
(Morning Star News) – Five Christians were killed and five others are missing after attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s Plateau and Benue states in the past two weeks.
Two members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) were killed on Sunday (Nov. 12) in Plateau state’s Wereng village, Riyom Local Government Area (LGA), as they were returning to their village at about 9:30 p.m., area resident Gyang Dahoro, a COCIN elder, told Morning Star News.
Christopher Musa Chong, 28, and Bulus Dantoro, 35, were ambushed and shot death, and their corpses cut with machetes, according to Dahoro.
“The two did not return to the village on Sunday evening,” Dahoro said. “A search was organized, and their corpses were found in bushes the following morning with bullet wounds and machete cuts.”
The Rev. Dacholom Datiri, president of the COCIN, said in a text message to Morning Star News that the church keeps losing its members as Muslim herdsmen have continued to ravage the countryside in a series of armed attacks.
“These armed Fulani herdsmen have continued with their attacks, and the church is at the receiving end,” Datiri said. “We have lost our members to these unprovoked attacks. We are on our knees praying for God’s mercy.”
Police in Plateau state reported recovering items belonging to the herdsmen at the scene of the attack. Plateau State Command spokesman Matthias Terna confirmed in a press statement the two Christians were ambushed and killed by the herdsmen.
“The dead bodies were recovered on the scene at about 8:15 in the morning by miners who were on their way to mining camp,” Terna said. “The police recovered two sticks belonging to the gunmen, and a motorcycle belonging to the deceased persons in the scene.”
Lamenting incessant killings of Christians in the state by the herdsmen using guerrilla tactics, a member of Nigeria’s parliament, the National Assembly, demanded the government declare the herdsmen as terrorists. Istifanus Gyang said in a press statement that the time has come for herdsmen to be classified as terrorists.
“The truth is that there is a quest by the herdsmen to forcefully acquire land and territory for occupation,” Gyang said. “Under this unfortunate development, the Nigerian state and government, which have the constitutional responsibility of protecting citizens from aggression, have left the victims at the mercy of the marauding herdsmen. These attacks have to be profiled and classified as acts of insurgency and treated with the same response as Boko Haram has been handled.”
Benue State Killings
In Benue state, three Christians were killed and five others abducted by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, sources said.
One of the Christians, Saater Kwaghdom, was killed in an attack in Gaambe-tiv village, Logo LGA, on Nov. 2 in which the herdsmen took away the five Christians, Joseph Anawa of Makurdi told Morning Star News.
Another Christian, Apesuu Uhula, was killed in Isho village, Guma LGA, on Tuesday (Nov. 13), and the same day herdsmen killed another Christian, Ortse Kwaghdoo, in Azdege village, Logo LGA, according to Anawa.
All three slain Christians were members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church, in Nigeria known as the NKST (Nongo U KristuU I Ser Sha Tar), he said.
Among those kidnapped, also NKST members, were Hingir Akaa Azemgbe, Doosul Nambo, and Ladi Mhbahme, he said.
Moses Yamu, spokesman for the Benue State Command, said in a press statement that some herdsmen who carried out the attacks have been arrested.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Benue state is majority-Christian, and a report released this month describes attacks there as a “Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen invasion of Benue.”
“Nigeria: Benue State Under the Shadow of Herdsmen Terrorism,” commissioned by the World Watch Research unit of Open Doors International and Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says ethnic, socio-economic, environmental and political factors play some part in attacks, but that policy makers have diminished the underlying jihadist motives.
The ideology of the Hausa-Fulani Muslim invasion of Benue is based on the slogan, “Everything belongs to Allah. Every piece of land belongs to Allah and not you; it is not for you infidels but for Allah,” the report notes.
“Thus, with climate change, competition over limited resources and environmental threat to the ways of life of the herdsmen, the use of terror and its religious justification has been intensified, particularly in Benue,” the report states. “Herdsmen use terror tactics to conduct jihad, displacing local communities from their land to make room for their herds, to occupy those lands and to spread Islam.”
Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen are generally misperceived as people who are only in search of a better environment for caring for their sheep, the report states.
“They are mostly considered as people whose life, survival and tradition is embedded in the value attached to the herds, and the capacity they retain to protect their way of life,” it states. “Yet, historically, it is necessary to emphasize the fact that herdsmen in Africa have always played an important role in Islamic jihad. Their actions clearly demonstrate that their use of terror is premeditated; it is ideologically driven and sometimes politically motivated depending on the place, time and socio-political context.”
The report also asserts that the government is complicit in the violence by failing to stop attacks or prosecute assailants.
Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.
In October, it was reported that the Supreme Court was likely to hear Aasia [Asia] Bibi’s blasphemy case during the next couple of months.
Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, told The Express Tribune that the court’s additional registrar had conveyed to him that the case was likely to be fixed for hearing in November. However, if for some reason there was a delay, it would definitely be listed in December.
“I have been told that currently the Supreme Court’s special bench is hearing criminal appeals filed in 2015. The Aasia case was listed the same year. Therefore, it will be heard during the ongoing year,” said the lawyer.
Legal experts say it’s unclear if a bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will resume, or the special bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, will hear her case.
The 51-year-old Christian, has been on the death row since November 2010 after being convicted of controversial blasphemy charges during an argument with a Muslim woman. Aasia’s case gained prominence after then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer pleaded for her retrial and was subsequently shot dead by his guard, Mumtaz Qadri, in January 2011.
In 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld Aasia’s death sentence, but the Supreme Court stayed her execution in July 2015.
The Tribune reported,
The last time her case was taken up was on October 13 last year by a three-judge bench headed by Justice Nisar and comprising Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik. The hearing was postponed when Justice Rehman recused himself as he was the CJ of the Islamabad High Court when it heard the Salmaan Taseer assassination case. The assassin had cited Taseer’s interest in the Aasia Bibi case as his motive.
Describing her case, Bibi said she was working in a field when she was asked to fetch water. Because she is a Christian, some of her Muslim co-workers objected, saying that she should not touch the water vessel as she would make it unclean. An argue began and harsh words were exchanged. Bibi claims the women later accused her of blasphemy in conspiracy with another Muslim woman. Bibi maintains her innocence.
VOP Note: During our recent IDOP prayer conference calls, we prayed specifically for Aasia, including that her case be heard. In discussions on the possibility of her case being heard in December, some are reluctant, as Pakistan prepares for elections to take place. Some fear the case will once again be postponed until after the elections. They also fear if she is released riots would ensue.
Please continue lifting her up to the Lord. In the name of Jesus, let us pray for those proceeding over the case to have the courage to do what is right and release her. Pray for those who would intend to harm these officials, Aasia and her family, or organize mob violence when she is acquitted. Lord have mercy on our sister who longs to reunite with her family.