Asia Bibi and the Plight of Pakistani Christians
An inconvenient narrative for Western media elites.
Media talking heads and self-appointed monitors of “hate” have been waxing hysterical over what they claim is a rising tide of “hate crimes” nationwide, a phenomenon, they want for us to believe, provoked by the rhetoric of President Donald J. Trump.
This claim, of course, is nonsense. Yet there’s another point that I wish to make here.
While the Western world has been deluged with media coverage regarding the legions of Muslims that fled to Europe from the oppression that they allegedly suffered in their own homelands, as well as with stories (many of which have been revealed as hoaxes) of Christians victimizing religious minorities in the streets of America, media elites never make a sound concerning the oppression that Christians around the world really suffer at the hands of the non-Christian majorities with which they co-exist.
Take Asia Bibi as just one example of this endemic phenomenon. This young woman’s experience is illustrative of that endured by numerous Christians throughout Bibi’s home country of Pakistan and throughout the Islamic world. Hers is worth drawing attention to, however, for more people are increasingly becoming familiar with Bibi’s name.
Bibi is a Pakistani woman, a mother of five children, and a member of Pakistan’s Christian minority. In 2009, she was arrested. The following year, Bibi was found guilty of the blasphemy charges that had been brought against her and she was sentenced to…death.
Bibi had been charged by her co-workers with having made offensive remarks about Muhammad and the Quran. They had ordered her to fetch them some water. She did. But after Bibi drank from it, they refused to do so and mocked her for having “defiled” the drink. Bibi’s co-workers ordered her to convert to Islam. It was then that Bibi had responded that it is they, her harassers, who should convert, for while Jesus saved humanity from its sins, what had Muhammad ever done for humanity, Bibi asked.
The following day, a mob chased her down in her home and beat Bibi senseless.
She found herself on the receiving end of blasphemy charges.
Allegations of this kind are especially difficult to combat in Pakistan, for the law lacks any clear-cut criteria for defining blasphemy. Undoubtedly, it is this vagueness that accounts for why the number of blasphemy convictions has soared over the last 30 or so years. According to Open Doors, an organization that exists to meet the needs of persecuted Christians around the globe, since the blasphemy clause forbidding criticism of Muhammad was injected into the penal code, charges of blasphemy have soared:
Pakistan is 96% Islamic. Since 1986, “at least 150 Christians, 564 Muslims, 459 Ahmadis and 21 Hindus have been jailed under blasphemy charges.”
The recommended penalty, mind you, is either life imprisonment or death.
Bibi received the penalty of death. For nine years, she was confined to a Pakistani jail cell. She appealed her sentence and on October 31, just a couple of weeks ago, Bibi was released from prison after the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to substantiate its case.
While justice certainly prevailed in this instance, things are far from over for Asia Bibi, her family, and Pakistan’s four million Christians. Open Doors reports that over the span of the weeks immediately preceding the Court’s ruling that set Bibi free, “Muslim extremist group[s] have threatened and carried out violence.” The fanatics have threatened not just Bibi, but as well the judges who set in motion her release.
But even after Bibi had been convicted and jailed years ago, Muslim hard-liners, in 2011, assassinated two government officials who had supported Bibi and publicly denounced the blasphemy laws that had been used to convict her.
Now that Bibi is freed, “fear of persecution among all Pakistani Christians is extremely high,” Open Doors informs us. “The church is bracing themselves for attacks on their homes and churches,” and some “offices and schools also have been closed.”
A person who Open Doors describes only as “one local Christian” asked for prayers as he noted that there was great concern among the country’s Christians that their kids—“especially the ones who attend a school with a Muslim majority”—“are not recognized as Christians and won’t draw any attention.”
Pakistan is the world’s sixth largest country, and ranks 5th on the World Watch List—the list of countries that are bastions of anti-Christian persecution. In Pakistan, Christians comprise their own caste of “untouchables.” Muslims who convert to Christianity are viewed as apostates and treated with at least as great contempt as that afforded any other Christian. According to Open Doors, “Muslims refuse to eat or drink with Christians for fear of being defiled. And Christian women and girls live under a constant threat of abduction, rape and forced marriage.”
There is more.
“Tragically, Christian students who are forced to attend Muslim schools are often singled out and persecuted for their faith. Throughout the country, Christians are denied education, good-paying jobs and even public services like electricity and running water.”
Thousands of madrasas routinely train young Muslims to persecute Christians.
Given that Islamic zealots have vowed to execute the death sentence that Pakistan’s highest court has vacated, Asia Bibi’s whereabouts at this moment have not been disclosed. Evidently, several countries have offered her and her family asylum.
Tellingly, not only has England not been among their number; it is conspicuous in its express denial of asylum to the Bibi family.
Wilson Chowdhry, the head of British Pakistani Christian Association, lamented that the British government will not permit the Bibi family sanctuary in England because of its fears concerning “potential unrest in the country, attacks on embassies and civilians.”
“It does seem to me,” Chowdhry continued, “that Britain is now a country that is unsafe for those who may be tarred with an allegation of blasphemy.” He explained: “We are very aware that there are extremist elements in this country.”
Take note: Because of its large Islamic population, the majority of which hails from Pakistan, England of all places will not grant asylum to one persecuted Christian family for fear that its imported population will conduct itself murderously.
While some media outlets, including left-leaning outlets, have indeed reported on Asia Bibi’s ordeal, it has hardly received the attention that it most assuredly would have received had Bibi’s story offered more grist for the media’s partisan mill.
In other words, a Christian woman persecuted for her faith by Muslims is not a politically-convenient narrative for those who are eager to link President Trump to an alleged rise in hate crimes against Muslims and other non-Christians.