Are Christians in Danger after Asia Bibi’s Acquittal?

Friday, February 8th, 2019
Asia Bibi with her children

There has been good news for Christian Asia Bibi with Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruling to uphold the acquittal of her blasphemy charges (taking action against Mohammed).

Even though she has been released from death row, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t still hard times ahead of her, with her life still in danger from those who violently disagree with the court’s decision.

Amid safety concerns, the exact location of Asia and her family remain confidential.  After her release from Multan Prison on the 7th of November 2018, she was flown to Islamabad and taken to an undisclosed location.

Ashley Saunders, CEO of the Barnabas Fund Australia which works with persecuted Christians around the world including Pakistan, spoke with Neil Johnson on Vision Christian Radio’s 20Twenty program, giving an update on Asia Bibi and what the outcome of her case means for other persecuted believers.

Barnabas Fund: What does Asia Bibi’s acquittal mean for persecuted Christians?

“The Supreme Court wasn’t obliged to reconsider it’s acquittal of Asia Bibi,” Ashley said. “But they did so because of the incredible unrest that was being caused in the community. After she was acquitted there were demonstrations right around [Pakistan] and the situation was dire.  So the Supreme Court agreed to hear some invitation to reconsider it."

"Thankfully, the Justices then said, ‘Well, we’re not really going to revisit it. We’ve brought you here so you can that there were good reasons why we acquitted her. There was no evidence to support the charges, so we’re affirming her acquittal.’”

Protesters cause chaos on the streets of Karachi after Asia’s acquittal

Ashley says this was good news for Asia but we as Christians need to be praying for the safety of her and her family as they find a new country to call home.  “At the same time, we need to be mindful of the difficult situation other Christians in Pakistan are in because of that.”

Rightly so, many Christians living in Pakistan who have seen the demonstrations around the country against Asia would now be fearing for their own lives.

“The first thing to recognise is that Christians in Pakistan are discriminated against generally.  They’re often hungry because they are poor. They’re poor because they are discriminated against. They’re discriminated against because they are Christians.”

Protesters against Asia Bibi

Angry protesters in Lahore, Pakistan after Asia Bibi's acquittal. (Shutterstock)

“On top of the acquittal of Asia Bibi there is increased concern that if any other Christian faces blaspheme charges it might automatically be the death sentence.  To say that discriminated Christians are really on edge is not quite right because many have a faith that is so much stronger than mine or yours.  And yet at the same time they recognise that their situation here on earth is very vulnerable.”

With the persecuted Church growing faster than any other group of Christian believers, what can we learn from them?  How can we too have a faith so strong that we are willing to face the very real risk of death for?  Neil and Ashley also discuss in the interview below what can we do to support our brothers and sisters in Christ that are facing persecution for simply putting their faith in Jesus.

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