***STATEMENT*** |May 8, 2019
Other Christians, However, Are ‘Wasting Away in Pakistani Prisons’ on Charges of Blasphemy
WASHINGTON—Late last year,Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi was acquitted on charges of blasphemy that kept her on death row for eight years, but she was effectively trapped in Pakistan—until now.
Fox News and other outlets are reporting that Bibi has successfully fled to Canada, reuniting with her daughters. “Despite being a ‘free woman’ after the death sentence was thrown out, she has been in protective custody—itself a kind of prison—because of religious extremists’ calls for her hanging,” according to Fox.
Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Executive Director Dede Laugesen said Christians worldwide are thankful Bibi has found safety but continue to pray for those who have not.
“While we celebrate with Asia Bibi and her family, we remain concerned for those other Christians who are wasting away in Pakistani prisons on charges of blaspheming Islam and the Prophet Muhammad,” Laugesen said. “These laws enable the Muslim majority to further torment the already marginalized Christians of Pakistan. Christians are easily targeted with accusations of blasphemy whenever there is a civil dispute. Charges of blasphemy stir up violent protests by Sharia-supremacists, and the innocent often spend years in prison as their cases make their way through the courts. The Christians of Pakistan are among the world’s most vulnerable populations, and policies such as these are frequently abused. We are consoled to see members of Parliament push back against these policies and are hopeful members of Congress here in America may follow suit.”
Save the Persecuted Christians President and CEO Frank J. Gaffney added the following statement during his “Secure Freedom Minute” radio feature today.
“Like many of her fellow Pakistani Christians, Asia has been brutally persecuted for her faith,” Gaffney said. “That was especially the case after she was falsely accused of having violated Islam’s Sharia ‘blasphemy’ restrictions. … Fortunately, under pressure from the Trump administration and others, the Pakistani Supreme Court finally, courageously acquitted Asia last year. Until today, though, she couldn’t leave the country and was kept in isolation to prevent Sharia-supremacists from murdering her. Thank God, Asia is finally free. Now, we must work to end the persecution of others whose speech, religious liberty and lives are threatened by the brutally oppressive code known as Sharia.”
Christian persecution worldwide is illustrated through Save the Persecuted Christians’ traveling exhibit called “The People of the Cross,” which displays heartbreaking photos and facts about several countries where Christian persecution is commonplace. Each of the 24 banners feature images, facts and quotes from recent news stories about the persecution of Christians in multiple countries, such as North Korea, where Christians are tortured or worse; Syria, where Christian girls and women have been sold into sex slavery; East Africa, where terrorists are exterminating Christians with genocidal intent; and Nigeria where two of the world’s most violent terrorist groups surround and slaughter entire villages of Christians. A majority of the countries highlighted in the banners are high on the World Watch List, including Pakistan at No. 5. One of the banners details Bibi’s story as a “prisoner of conscience.”
The exhibit premiered in July 2018 at the U.S. Capitol as a side event to the first-ever U.S. Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. Since then, it has toured the United States, reaching tens of thousands. “The People of the Cross” exhibit is available for churches, public venues and special events. To learn more about hosting “The People of the Cross,” contact Save the Persecuted Christians or visit the website, where panels are available to view online.
The mission of Save the Persecuted Christians is to save lives and save souls by holding the persecutors accountable and creating costs for their crimes against humanity. To that end, it will disseminate actionable information about the magnitude of such crimes and bring to bear a movement of concerned Americans determined to hold persecutors accountable for such crimes and create real costs for perpetrating them against those who follow Jesus.
According to Aid to the Church in Need, which released its biannual report on Religious Freedom in the World in November, over 300 million Christians experience persecution. According to Open Doors USA World Watch List, 245 million Christians are victims of high to extreme levels of persecution (i.e., torture, rape, sex-slavery, expulsion, murder and genocide), an increase of 14 percent over 2018. Open Doors also estimates 1 in 9 of the world’s Christians experience persecution and that every month: 345 Christians are killed, often in public and without regard to gender or age; 219 Christians are abducted and imprisoned indefinitely without trial; and 106 churches are demolished.
Because most of these crimes are not covered in the media, Save the Persecuted Christians developed a dedicated news aggregator—www.ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution and to provide readers an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others.
With so much of the world’s Christian population being attacked, imprisoned and/or exiled for their beliefs, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.
To interview a Save the Persecuted Christians representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com