National Catholic Register |by Nina Shea | Sept. 16th, 2019
COMMENTARY: A drama of faithfulness, courage and perseverance, in which good ultimately triumphs. It is also a window into the importance of the struggle to defend religious freedom.
Asia Bibi, at last, has spoken.
Earlier this month, the Catholic mother from Pakistan who, for the past decade, became this century’s international face of persecuted Christians and stirred governments throughout the West into action on her behalf, released several short video tapes from a secret refuge in Canada. In them, she expresses her love for Jesus Christ, forgiveness for her persecutors and concern for other prisoners languishing unjustly in her native land.
In this self-filmed video, Asia Bibi tells people of faith to stay true to their beliefs: “I was granted my freedom through Jesus.” Asia was acquitted of blasphemy after spending 8 years on death row in #Pakistan. It is the first time we are hearing her voice since her release. Posted by EWTN News Nightly on Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Bibi also reflects on her nearly 10-year ordeal of imprisonment on death row in a Pakistani prison on charges that she committed blasphemy against Islam. Her experience is unimaginable to most of us in the West, where we still have rights to religious freedom unknown in most of the world. Living under the constant threat of execution, the loneliness of solitary confinement, ordered for her own safety, was its own form of torture. She explained:
“When my daughters visited me in jail, I never cried in front of them, but when they went after meeting me in jail, I used to cry alone filled with pain and grief. I used to think about them all the time, how they are living.”
She is a modern version of what the early Church once called a “confessor of the faith” — Christians who, during the time of persecution in ancient Rome, were imprisoned or tortured for professing their faith but not martyred.