Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition Joins Worldwide Believers in Prayer for Asia Bibi
On Death Row for 9 Years, Pakistani Christian Woman Awaits Final Decision
WASHINGTON—Christians around the world, and especially her fellow believers in Pakistan, are in fervent prayer for Asia Bibi—the Pakistani Christian woman who has been on death row for blasphemy for nine years.
Joining them are members of the Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition, which has been following Bibi’s case closely.
Mission Network News (MNN) has reported that tensions have been high in Pakistan since Oct. 8—the date of a final Supreme Court hearing regarding Bibi’s fate after her last appeal. The announcement of the decision from the three-justice panel, however, has been delayed by the Pakistan government.
Some of the nation’s Islamists have taken to the streets to protest, while radical Muslim leaders have also campaigned for stricter enforcement of the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. These security issues have played into the court’s silence, according to MNN, but the verdict is expected very soon.
“We are praying fervently for Asia Bibi’s release,” said founding Coalition member and Save the Persecuted Christians Director Dede Laugesen. “She, like millions of other Christians in the world, is bearing the heavy weight of the cross of persecution. We believe in miracles and hope Pakistan does the right thing by setting her free. If she is hanged for blasphemy, Pakistan should incur severe penalties from the international community.”
The U.K.-based Catholic Herald relayed that Bibi’s ‘crime’ was to drink water from a supply used by Muslims.” As a farm worker, Bibi was in the fields alongside Muslim women when she took a drink. The objections came because she was an “unclean” Christian. She was beaten by an angry mob then rescued by police. A few days later, Bibi was accused by a local imam, who had not been present at the incident, of insulting Muhammad. She was sentenced to death under Pakistan’s stringent blasphemy laws a year later.
Pakistan is No. 5 on the 2018 Open Doors USA World Watch List for “extreme” persecution of the country’s nearly 4 million Christians. Much of the persecution comes from radical Islamic groups that flourish and expand under the favor of political parties, the army and the government.
The STPC Coalition, which advocates on behalf of 215 million Christians facing heavy persecution worldwide, continues to work diligently to disseminate actionable information about ways in which the American people can help those like Bibi who are being persecuted for their faith.
Especially in light of headlines like these, raising awareness about Christian persecution is crucial, as violence toward and imprisonment of Christians occurs so routinely it rarely makes the news. For example, according to Open Doors, 255 Christians are killed worldwide every month. 104 Christians are abducted. 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage. 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial. And 66 churches are attacked. Every month.
With such staggering statistics, and the knowledge that most of these crimes are not covered in the media, the STPC Coalition developed a special news aggregator—www.ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution that do make the news and to provide readers an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others.
One of the simple and economical ways Americans can render support is by encouraging their pastors and faith leaders to visit www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org and to order a free banner to display in front of their houses of worship. These simple banners feature a graphic “Save Us” plea with a cross and the coalition’s website where Americans can learn about the global persecution of Christians and find out more about what they can do to help stop it.
With so much of the world’s population attacked, imprisoned or exiled for their beliefs—like Bibi and other followers of Christ in Pakistan—the time is fitting for the work of the STPC Coalition. The Coalition is building a movement like one in the 1970s that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—so as to press for policy changes that will hold the persecutors accountable and increase the costs for their crimes against humanity. Building such a movement is necessary to provide American policymakers the leverage needed to influence change worldwide and to alleviate the suffering of those who are being persecuted merely because of their faith in Jesus Christ.