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An Urgent Call To Prayer! Asia Bibi’s life hangs in the balance, death sentence appeal to be heard on Thursday
(Voice of the Persecuted) Asia Bibi is a Christian mother of five and the first woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death for blasphemy (insulting the Prophet Mohammed). She has been imprisoned and suffering on death row since 2009. For fear she may be assassinated in prison, she is alone in a cell and forced to cook her own meals to prevent poisoning.
Pakistan’s Supreme court announced her appeal will take place on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, She desperately needs our prayers.
On a very hot day in June 2009. Asia’s Muslim co-workers refused to drink water she had brought for them. They considered her Christian faith made her unclean and she had defiled the water.
An argument ensued and Asia was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed. She has always denied this charge, but she was sentenced to death 5 months later.
AFP reports that radical voices in Pakistan continue to call for her hanging.
Mustafa Qadri, an expert on human rights in South Asia, encouraged the Supreme Court to rule in Bibi’s favor, as it would “send a powerful message to the world that Pakistan respects the rule of law and not the mob.”
However, many fear if Asia is released violent protests will erupt and Christians will be targeted.
We, along with others, have advocated for our Christian sister languishing alone in a prison cell as she prays for her sentenced to be repealed. VOP and groups, such as the American Center for Law and Justice, are also urging Christians to speak out for Bibi ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision, which could lead to her execution. You can sign their petition here.
If the death sentence is upheld, Asia will become the first woman in Pakistan to be executed for blasphemy.
While praying for Asia, a member of Voice of the Persecuted’s Prayer Warrior team was reminded of a scripture that she had copied out a few months ago to pray for her. She admitted that although she had been praying for her most days, she had not often declared this scripture.
For He looked down from His holy height;
From heaven the Lord gazed upon the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoner,
To set free those who were doomed to death,
UPDATE: We will be holding a second prayer conference call on Wednesday, Oct. 12
Dates of Call…….
Tuesday, Oct. 11 and Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016 (from any location using your phone)
Time of call…….
9 p.m. Eastern
8 p.m. Central
7 p.m. Mountain
6 p.m. Pacific
Call number and access code are…….
Christian advocacy groups such as CSW and many church leaders are also calling for 24 hour prayer beginning Oct. 12th as her trial begins.
Prayer Points from CSW:
- That Asia would be acquitted
- For her strength and restoration during and after the hearing
- For wisdom and protection for Saiful Malook, her lawyer; and for the judges hearing her case
- For the wider Christian community who may face a backlash whatever the outcome of the appeal
- For an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Pakistan, to maintain calm in the country.
- For justice for others accused of blasphemy, and that the government would urgently amend the blasphemy laws
Join with Voice of the Persecuted in daily prayer for Asia and remember her on Wednesday, October 12th as her trial begins.
L. Kanalos, VOP Founder/Advocate
A court in Minya upheld the appeal filed by the defense of the four teenagers who were in detention for more than 40 days on charges of insulting Islam. The incident happened in a school in the village of Nasiriyya, near the town of Beni Mazar, in the Egyptian province of Minya.
The four were arrested for having appeared in a video for a few seconds, in which they mimed the scene of the slaughter of a faithful Muslim in prayer, in imitation of the horrific executions committed by jihadists of the Islamic State (IS).
The brief video, which represented in its own way an indictment against the atrocities committed by jihadists of the Islamic State, had incredibly sparked anger and false accusations of Islamist elements in the area, which forced local authorities to take action to restore calm, convening on 17 April, a meeting of “reconciliation” between Christians and Muslims, with the participation of imams and priests in the area.
The families of the boys had to pay a deposit of 10 thousand Egyptian pounds for the release of each of them. Even a professor of the school was accused of having the responsibility in recording the video and spreading it, which is why he was forced to leave the village of Nasiriyya with his family. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 28/05/2015)
A U.S. Marine has been convicted at a court-martial for displaying a Bible verse. Now her case is being appealed to the military’s highest court.
When Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling has was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, she posted Isaiah 54:17, which reads, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”
Praise the Lord! A number of folks have changed their profile pics to the “Pray for Asia Bibi” reminder seen here. As I pointed out, that is a great way to remind ourselves and others to pray for Asia Bibi between now and October 15th. Her judge in Pakistan has said that he will delay no more, and the next meeting date is final: It is life or death.
We can help her through our prayers. Remember Paul’s words to the Corinthians. They helped him when he thought he was going to die:
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)
Here are a few ways we can be praying for Asia Bibi in her current distress:
- Pray for her faith not to fail, that God would strengthen her soul to faithful endurance.
- Pray for her husband to trust Christ and stay fixed on Him clearly, especially in this next month.
- Pray for her children to see Christ and the Holy Spirit at work through the faith displayed by their parents throughout this ordeal (She has 5 children).
- Pray for her judge to have the courage to execute justice (rather than executing Asia Bibi).
- Pray for this judge to do what is right, even though his life will then be in danger, as radicals would likely try to kill him if he allows Asia Bibi to go free.
- Pray for those who have persecuted Asia and caused her 5 years of imprisonment, that they will be broken by the beauty of her faith and the holiness of her suffering for Christ’s sake. Pray they will be convicted of sin and converted to Christ.
- Pray for the church in Pakistan to be strengthened through Asia’s faith, even as Paul says that the church was strengthened by seeing how God worked through his suffering.
- Pray that the gospel would increase in Pakistan in the same way that it increased when Stephen was martyred and Paul was imprisoned.
My wife made the picture above her iPhone wallpaper so that every time she turns on her phone she gets a reminder to pray. Get creative!
I’m sure that you can think of many other ways to be praying during these last few weeks. Please feel free to share how you are praying for Asia. That will likely help all of us to pray with focus and intensity. Please continue to pray and continue to share these prayer requests with others. We have a genuine opportunity to see how the fervent, faithful prayers of the righteous can accomplish much on behalf of Asia Bibi.
Breaking: PAKISTAN – Asia Bibi’s case disappears from the list of hearings, the possibility of an appeal diminishes
Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – The first hearing of the appeal for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, will not take place today, 27th May, and no one knows if and when it will be scheduled again. This was reported to Fides Agency by the lawyers engaged in the defense team of women. Speaking to Fides Agency, the lawyer, Naeem Shakir, one of the lawyers defending Asia Bibi, does not hide his dismay: “The case was in the list of hearings scheduled for today. Then it suddenly disappeared. We do not know why. I can only say that what is happening is not normal”.
The lawyers are waiting for an official reason from the administration of the High Court of Lahore to explain the serious anomaly which results in the lack of justice for an innocent victim.
“At this point we do not know when and if the case will be examined” they explain. Since February the process has been postponed 4 times for various reasons and the trail has never started.
According to observers, the judges of the Court of Appeal do not want to take responsibility to examine the case for fear of retaliation by radical Islamic groups. In the past, judges who acquitted Christians for blasphemy were killed.
As Fides learns, bitterness and disappointment can be felt even among Asia’s family members. In the coming days – the woman’s lawyers say – the woman, who is in the women’s prison in Multan, will be informed on the latest developments in the case that concerns her.
Asia Noreen Bibi was condemned for blasphemy on June 19, 2009, pursuant to Article 295c of the Penal Code, by the Muslim Mullah, Qari Muhammad Sallam. After a trial before the Court of First Instance in Nankana Sahib, Asia was sentenced to death on November 8, 2010. The Appeal was filed before the Lahore High Court on November 11, 2010. But, for religious reasons and political pressures, only four years after the case has been taken into consideration. Today, the ongoing litany of posponements has not yet allowed the holding of the first hearing. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/05/2014)
Please keep our dear sister, Asia and her suffering family in your prayers.
The trial had already been postponed twice, but Naeem Shakir, the Christian woman’s lawyer, in statements to the Fides Agency, was hopeful that the scheduled session would take place. According to the news agency, quoting her attorney, Asia Bibi in the women’s prison of Multan “is in good health and safe conditions”. The lawyer added that “she prays and hopes”.
The reprobation of Asia has rallied people and institutions around the world. On March 19, the European Parliament Working Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief asked, “to all those who are involved in the case, to give a proof of courage and not give in to any pressure or external threat”. They asked the Pakistani Government to “protect the independence and proper functioning of the Supreme Court of Lahore”, and urge the Pakistani authorities to provide adequate protection to all persons involved in the case, now and after a possible, future judicial decision “.
Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010. It all started when Bibi was engaged in a discussion with Muslim women. In revenge, it was accused that the Christian, Bibi had blasphemed against Islam, a crime punishable by death in Pakistan. The law against blasphemy has been the target of much criticism in Pakistan. Until now, nobody has been executed for this crime, but several of the people charged were murdered in prison or after they were released.
An appeal in the case of unsupported blasphemy charges, has been postponed after her accuser failed to appear in court, the Fides news service reported.
Imprisoned for years, Asia Bibi’s children are missing their mother and praying to see her at home. Our hearts break for the disappointment they must be feeling today.
Attorneys for the mother of five, jailed since 2009 when neighbors accused her of blaspheming their prophet, were prepared to argue for her release in Lahore High Court. But because the Muslim who submitted the original legal complaint against her was not present, the judges postponed the hearing—again.
“We remain very confident, from a legal point of view,” the lawyers for Bibi told Fides. They are encouraged for the opportunity to put the case before the appeals court. Bibi supporters believe the lower courts have been intimidated by Muslim extremists.