Religion versus Asia Bibi

Here is an important point on a life or death issue  – that of religious freedom. The guy making it is Prof. Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher is Director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom of the World Evangelical Alliance.

The statement is particularly responding to a move by Pakistan to make ‘Defamation of Religion’ a human rights violation within the UN Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly. Such a move would turn the very notion of religious freedom for individuals on its head.

Asia Bibi's husband and 2 of 5 children

It was for supposed ‘blasphemy’ against the Prophet that a Roman Catholic Christan, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death last November.

Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who spoke up on her behalf, was assassinated earlier this month.  Any perceived insult against Islam or the Prophet Muhammad becomes a capital offence.

Here’s a clip of what Prof Schirrmacher said:

(T)he New Testament report (Acts chapter 19) about the tumult in Ephesus shows that persecution and the violation of religious freedom are often heavily intertwined with other factors. The persecution in Ephesus was plotted by silversmiths whose profits from the Diana temple declined because of Christian preaching. Similarly … the writer of Acts describes very positively how the representatives of the state, in light of Roman law, could peacefully end the persecution. The state must protect Christians from persecution, not because they are Christians, but because it is the task of the state to maintain peace and justice for all, including Christians. Precisely because Christian churches have long recognized the monopoly of the state in the use of force, they neither want nor can defend themselves against violent criminals; they must rely on the protection of the state. In situations where this protection by the state is not provided, or if violence against Christians even comes from a state, others states need to raise their voices.

The Pope and the EU Parliament have requested that she be freed. Individuals can act as well – here is one site which outlines a number of way through which you can act on her behalf – and, by doing do, on behalf of religious freedom in Pakistan.

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