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London protest over blasphemy sentence

London protest over blasphemy sentence

When Asia Bibi, a Pakistan farm worker, was originally sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy, a crowd gave the judge a standing ovation, chanting ‘Kill her, kill her! Allahu Akbar!’

This week the Lahore High Court rejected the appeal against the death sentence – to the utter disgust of the civilised world. Protests included a rally this morning outside 10 Downing Street, the London residence of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and the release of a video, ‘Free Asia Bibi’ by Ooberfuse, an electronica band from Woolwich, London.

Cherrie Anderson, frontwoman of the band, explained:

We have been calling out for Asia’s release ever since we translated Asia’s autobiography into English. Asia’s own words inspired our defiant anthem Free. We will carry on our campaign until religious minorities around the world enjoy the freedoms people of all faiths and none enjoy here in the UK.

The Christian mother-of-five was sentenced to hang for blasphemy in Pakistan after a squabble with her work colleagues over a drink of water.

According to this report, the 50-year-old, who was working as a farm labourer in Punjab the summer of 2009, offered to fetch some water for colleagues in the sweltering heat, but according to her account, they spurned her offer, saying it was “unclean” to accept water from a non-Muslim.

Bibi took offence, according to her representatives at Amnesty International, and argued with her colleagues, who in turn complained about her to the local cleric, who gave her the choice between converting to Islam or being reported to police.

She refused, and was taken to the police and charged. In 2010, she was sentenced to death at the Lahore High Court.

Facing death in Pakistan for blasphemy: Asia Bibi and Muhammad Asghar

Facing death in Pakistan for blasphemy: Asia Bibi and Muhammad Asghar

Bibi has since released a memoir from prison called Blasphemy, detailing her ordeal:

I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.

I can no longer bear the sight of people full of hatred, applauding the killing of a poor farm worker. I no longer see them, but I still hear them, the crowd who gave the judge a standing ovation, saying: ‘Kill her, kill her! Allahu Akbar!’

Bibi’s case drew global criticism in 2011 when Pakistan’s minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and eastern Punjab governor Salman Taseer were killed for supporting her and opposing blasphemy laws. Taseer was killed in the capital Islamabad by one of his police guards after visiting Bibi in jail.

Bhati was killed months later by the Pakistani Taliban, who called him an “infidel Christian”.

Bibi has since released a memoir from prison called Blasphemy, detailing her ordeal.

I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.

Bibi’s lawyer Sardar Mushtaq said:

We have the right to appeal in 30 days, and we will continue this legal battle by approaching the Supreme Court of Pakistan. We have a strong case, and we will try our best to save her life.

Kate Allen, UK Director of Amnesty International, said:

This is the latest blasphemy outrage to come out of Pakistan. It seems obvious that this is a case of religious persecution, and it’s very likely the result of a squabble which escalated out of all proportion.

Blasphemy accusations in Pakistan are often used to settle petty vendettas and persecute minority groups. It’s a complete disgrace that the courts are complicit in these vendettas.

There has also been an alarming spate of killings of people who have spoken out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Mohammad Asghar, a Scottish man, is also on death row in Pakistan after being sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Asghar, 70, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was sentenced to death earlier this year after writing a series of letters claiming to be the “Prophet” Mohammed. Last month Asghar was shot and wounded by a police officer at the Rawalpindi prison where he is held.

Allen added:

Asia Bibi and Mohammad Asghar are both languishing on death row for crimes which shouldn’t even be criminalised. They should both be released immediately. Pakistan should get rid of these poisonous blasphemy laws.

Chief Operating Officer for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Andy Dipper said:

We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the Lahore High Court. Asia Bibi’s sentence is a tragic reminder of the continued abuse of the dysfunctional blasphemy laws and the underlying weaknesses in Pakistan’s justice system.

Deeply-rooted problems of prejudice, inefficiency, corruption, and under-resourcing are amplified in blasphemy cases, and even more so for religious minorities. The only hope she has for justice is when the case is heard in the Supreme Court. We urge Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk to consider Bibi’s case with the utmost urgency, and to ensure her safety both throughout and after the process.

Hat tip: Too many to list

35 responses to “London protest over blasphemy sentence”

  1. Matt Westwood says:

    The Indian people with whom I work despise Pakistan with a hatred that the deepest darkest Deep South KKK racism can’t even begin to approach. It’s stuff like this that helps me understand exactly why.

  2. Paul Cook says:

    But Matt the odd thing is that there are more Muslims in India than in the whole of Pakistan! And they are in short the same people.

  3. Newspaniard says:

    Why are we still sending aid to these savages? We financed their nuclear weapons programme by paying for things that the Pakistani government should have. We are now financing a government who refuses to bring their laws out of the 7th century. It is little wonder that so many of their people have scattered themselves as far away from Pakistan as they can.

  4. Barry Duke says:

    “It is little wonder that so many of their people have scattered themselves as far away from Pakistan as they can.”

    True, Newspaniard, but you neglected to point out that many of those that left that basketcase of a country are now pressing for shariah laws – including “bblasphemy” – in their adopted countries.

  5. Angela_K says:

    This man wants to send more aid to muslim countries and wants a muslim PM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd–2VHN0F0

  6. Toto says:

    Pakistan…..the festering dog turd on the face of the earth.

  7. Paul Cook says:

    It always amazes me that people can believe in something without any evidence and then kill for it.

    The human brain is an incredibly powerful thing, but in the hands of an idiot it is a utterly devastating weapon.

  8. Paul Cook says:

    So I can be killed for not believing in god.
    But if I kill someone who believes in god I am a murderer.

    What a wonderfully tolerant god filled world we live in.

  9. Toto says:

    Pakistan….a failed state befouled with bigotted islamic shitfaced uneducated narrow minded imams who indoctrinate the beggaring resentful stupefied halfwit parasitic overpopulation into acts of mass stupidity. Pakistan ..a country that takes and takes, shrieks and wails…..achieves nothing of merit, contributes nothing to science technology engineering, literature or music but just leeches off the rest of humanity. A country that harboured the hate mongering excremental murderer bin laden and got all upset and threatening when brave men had the decency to blast the shitehawk into oblivion. Pakistan…..the shit stain in the underpants of the world.

  10. AgentCormac says:

    @Toto

    You forgot to mention that it also has nuclear weapons.

  11. Broga says:

    The usual approach. If you don’t believe what I believe I will kill you. Or, more accurately, if you don’t say you believe what I believe I will kill you.

  12. Toto says:

    No, I had not forgotten. It is beyond my comprehension that a country crammed full with primitive intolerant fanatical volatile islamic loons with hair trigger sensibilities who enjoy nothing better than over-reacting to imagined insults with astonishing venom, bile, hatred and violence…..has nuclear weapons. I mean..they even cheat at cricket. Want to know what will precipitate the thermo nuclear war that will incinerate millions of people? I think it will kick off because some islamofacist anihilationist pakistani loons will decide that it’s not enough to string up a kaffir. They will decide to be outraged by some perceived Hindu face slap shriek themselves into a frenzy and decide the only honourable response is to bring on Armageddon with a push of a button to launch apocalyptic weaponry, way beyond their ability to engineer. The finger of allah …..has destroyed the infidels and delivered to us glorious fiery martyrdom on a stupendous scale.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Broga: It’s the same thing. As with many Christians in the past, if you die saying that you believe – even as the result of being tortured – you will go to heaven, because “God” is either too stupid to work out that your confession of faith is completely false or doesn’t really care.

  14. Trevor Blake says:

    “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”- President Obama.

    And this is why. Muslims kill blasphemers, apologists make excuses for them.

  15. Toto says:

    And if they can’t figure out how to push the button or the button doesn’t work because the electricity supply has failed again the godly will convince a lunatic to go to Africa to bring back Ebola, incubate a battalion of fanatical suicidal biohazard halfwits and deport them to infect the infidel kaffirs in their homelands. There are people out there right now, who are aching kill you and me, fantasising and relishing the prospect doing this. This is what islam does to people. Islam…the Ebola of the mind. Islam is a fatal virtual virus that kills the critical faculties and all traces of humanity and sense of decency in the minds that it infects.

  16. Newspaniard says:

    @Toto. Listen, I do wish you would stop pussyfooting around and actually say what you mean. I can’t stand all this liberal doubletalk.

  17. Broga says:

    @Newspaniard: I agree. Toto really must say what he thinks about Islam instead of all this politically correct stuff. He is far to tender in his sensitivity to the feelings of Islamists.

  18. Stephen Turner says:

    Although I suppose the sentences will be commuted in the end, their life
    expectancy is surely short.

    And of course the nearest real thing to the sharia paradise these loons want is Saudi Arabia. They should be careful what they wish for.

    The latest online edition of Private Eye has a piece about how the Saudi and UK
    governments have been complicit in bribery for decades, kickbacks being paid to Saudi officials (I wonder what family they could belong to) and London covering it all up so as not to offend the regime We don’t know if anyone high up at the MOD tried to put a stop to it, but they didn’t succeed if so and they must certainly have known about it. (I know the story isn’t new, and indeed people will remember that a certain Mr T Blair of this parish suppressed a fraud inquiry into it.) The rot goes right to the top at both ends.

    And here’s Patrick Cockburn in The Independent recently, saying that there were 22 beheadings in August in Saudi, one victim being mentally ill and another having been convicted of ‘sorcery’. The regime is putting the sharia screws on even more One positive thing (in the article) is that those opposed
    to extremism in Saudi are increasingly being heard.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/twitter-provides-one-of-the-few-forums-in-which-saudis-can-discuss-what-they-really-feel–and-it-says-they-blame-the-clergy-for-isis-9774884.html?origin=internalSearch

  19. Toto says:

    I write what hundreds of millions of decent people are thinking. I suspect there a more than a few Pakistanis thinking along the same lines. But I have the good fortune to live in the civilised secular democratic world and have the right to write what I want. I write these things now whilst I can before the evils of islamofacism overpower reason and gag me in my own country. Wake up fools….it is time for every decent person to push back against this ultimate evil.

  20. Rob Andrews says:

    I do volunteer work for the human rights group Amnesty International. there are many people in Pakistan under sentence of death for blasohamy.in Pakistan. What we do is to write letters on behalf of political prisoners and victims of unjust laws. I urge all of us here to get involved in helping these people.

    The American URL is: http://www.amnestyusa.org Click to the urgent Action appeals section. There is at least one blasphemy case, we are writing on now. There’s also Amnesty international web sites in many European countries as well.There you’ll find addresses of the govcernment officials in Pakistan, that you can write to; as well as guidelines on what to say.

    Many people think: ‘what good is one letter’? it’s the volume of letters that gets people freed.

  21. Broga says:

    @toto: I’m with you. I intended my comments to be ironical. However, angry and passionate you are you are not beheading people, mutilating female babies and stoning women to death before a baying crowd. Keep up the good work.

  22. chrsbol says:

    I fear their sentences won’t be commuted and hope I’m wrong. Even if there are sympathetic courts, who is going to chance it and put their own life at risk after what happened to others. What a f*!**d up world we live in.

  23. L.Long says:

    This is the real reason we must NOT give any respect to any religion!!!!
    Given any chance ALL psychotically delusional BS religions WILL try to do the same. The Xtians have done so in places and so to the jews. So although at this point the muslins are doing well, the others are still trying to get back to their old glory of ass-holery.

  24. Toto says:

    The truth is that all the individuals in the baying shrieking ululating mob are shit scared of being identified as the one that is not hardline enough or not fully seized with the idea of murdering someone who is of a different faith,or a fag, or a witch, an apostate, a rape victim or just someone who a fanatic wants eliminated. If you don’t join in convincingly then you run the risk of being the next scapegoat and getting your head sliced off or being strung up on the end of a rope. Engineers understand the concept of positive feedback where the output is fed back in as amplified input so that the system spirals out of control in a catastrophic divergent cataclysm. This is what you get with islam. A runaway unstoppable firestorm chain reaction generating astonishing levels of violence intolerance and murder.

  25. Toto says:

    And if any islamist fuckwit bigot wants to challenge my assertion he can get in line and kiss my arse.Understood?

  26. Toto says:

    And as the brave men who extinguish oil and gas well burn outs know the best way of tackling the roaring fire is to detonate a rather large explosion to snuff out the flames. Maybe the mirthless cretins of jihad would appreciate being despatched to meet their maker by means of thermonuclear vaporising fireball martyrdom. Mind you I can’t figure out why, if their heaven is so fucking wonderful, fundamentalist islamofacist loons don’t take the fast track to their hellish heaven by simply killing each other in a orgy of bloody beheadings lynchings stoning immolation bombings and shootings.

  27. Toto says:

    Sorry, but I just realised that shites and shias do murder each other enthusiastically and with relish. Keep it up boys and we civilised secular people will dance in the streets when the last shite murders the last shia.

  28. Matt Westwood says:

    “… all the individuals in the baying shrieking ululating mob are shit scared of being identified as the one that is not hardline enough or not fully seized with the idea of murdering someone … If you don’t join in convincingly then you run the risk of being the next scapegoat …”

    What we need is people who, as they realise they are going to be the next one targeted, are not frightened of picking off as many of those fascists as they can before their own demise. Murder them in their sleep or something.

  29. Great Satan says:

    We should have a covert operation to deprive Pakistan of it’s nuclear weapons, and then cut off all aid to the country and stop all immigration from that shithole – at present they are running circles round our supposedly intelligent leaders. Do not feed you’re enemy.

  30. barriejohn says:

    Here’s an uplifting story from Pakistan to lighten the gloom a bit:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-29648454

  31. barriejohn says:

    Not forgetting the Edhi Foundation:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-29216894

  32. Norman Paterson says:

    BarrieJohn – Nice story about Dr Adib Rizvi. How long before he’s up for blasphemy I wonder.

    Unlike other posters here I don’t think Pakistan is uniformly shit. I think much of it is, but not all by a long way. Otherwise it would have been a lot worse than it is – consider these nukes for example. There are many brave people there who are trying to make it a better place. The islamic mob is the problem. Kind of ironic, considering how the country came to be and what its name means.

  33. barriejohn says:

    NP: I’m not letting Islam off the hook, but the partition of India – a result of Britain’s panic-stricken withdrawal – was an unmitigated disaster. Mountbatten was the archetypal showman, but he was only doing what he was told. I don’t think that things would have been much different had Gandhi lived, as the die had already been cast, sad to say.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohandas_Karamchand_Gandhi#Partition_and_independence.2C_1947

  34. Norman Paterson says:

    Toto – Re using ebola as a weapon – I claim precedence for this idea!

  35. Toto says:

    Norman…whatever. But you are not the first.