Asia Bibi Vindicated — But Still in Danger

by John Stonestreet And Roberto Rivera , Christian Post Contributor |

(COURTESY: BRITISH PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION)Imprisoned Christian mother of of five, Asia Bibi, is facing the death penalty after being accused of blasphemy in 2009 by angry Muslim women, who were upset that she drank from the same drinking water as them.

The prayers of Christians around the world for Asia Bibi have been answered, but many more are needed for her and for all Pakistani Christians.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan overturned the conviction of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

The acquittal was not only a just ruling, it was an incredibly courageous act by the Court. And still, we should be clear that until Asia Bibi is out of the country, she's not out of danger. Even more, all Pakistani Christians face a very volatile and dangerous situation there now.

Here's the background: In June, 2009, Asia got into a dispute with her Muslim neighbors. Her family was the only Christian family in that village, and her neighbors had objected to a non-Muslim using the same cup to fetch water from a well as they did.

A few days later, her neighbors successfully petitioned the local cleric to charge her with insulting the prophet Muhammad. What she actually said was "I'm not going to convert [to Islam]. I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammad ever do to save mankind?"

She was then arrested and imprisoned while awaiting trial. Sixteen months later, a judge found her guilty and sentenced her to death.

Then matters got even worse.

When she appealed her case to the highest court in her native Punjab province, the provincial governor there, Salman Taseer predicted that she would be pardoned by Pakistan's president.

A few weeks later, Taseer was killed by his own bodyguard.

He wasn't the only politician to be killed for defending Bibi. Two months later, Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of the cabinet, was also assassinated for speaking up on her behalf.

Bibi was to spend nearly eight more years in jail waiting to learn if she would be executed. In the meantime, her family was forced to flee their village because they too were threatened with death.

Finally, on Wednesday, Pakistan's Supreme Court rendered a 56-page opinion citing, among other things, the Quran, Islamic scholars and Shakespeare. In it, the Court overturned the guilty verdict and ordered her release.

Read more about Asia Bibi on The Christian Post.