Asia Bibi - A time to rejoice or lament?

A Christian woman who spent eight years on death row after being accused of insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammad has been acquitted by Pakistan's highest court.  But nothing will change in Pakistan and Britain must withdraw our support until this country ends it's brutality.  

A Christian woman who spent eight years on death row after being accused of insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammad has been acquitted by Pakistan's highest court.

The Supreme Court in Islamabad ordered the release of Asia Bibi from an undisclosed jail today.  For Britain welcome Asia Bibi’s acquittal, after a gruelling 8 years of incarceration in solitary confinement our hearts and prayers are with her and her family.

The concept of blasphemy is that, when enforced, it curtails freedom of expression. The freedom to speak freely, without censure, is a fundamental human right that should be guaranteed to citizens of every just state. While freedom of speech is necessary for the progress and development of a society, however, this freedom, like all other freedoms, is not limitless.

Mrs Bibi was arrested in 2009 following a row with Muslim women who accused her of making a water cup unclean for them because she had used it. It was claimed Mrs Bibi made three blasphemous comments about the Prophet Muhammad in the quarrel which followed. Bibi was later convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death. There are so many blasphemy victims - Christian victims - who are still in prison and are on death sentence like Asia Bibi. Where is their justice?

Pakistan has imposed a very crucial judgement in the case of Asia but let us not be fooled. It will not set a precedence in the cases of the many other Christians imprisoned for Blasphemy. On examination of her case it is clear that the acquittal was not based on the retraction of Islamic blasphemy laws but rather on the lack of evidence provided by the prosecution. The judges said they agreed that Bibi had not been tried fairly, noting "glaring and stark" contradictions in the prosecution's evidence, and ordered her immediate release. 

Justice Asif Khosa, writing in the full verdict, issued shortly after today’s announcement, said the truth had not been fully revealed during the trial.

“[There is] the irresistible and unfortunate impression that all those concerned in the case with providing evidence and conducting investigation had taken upon themselves not to speak the truth of at least not to divulge the whole truth. It is equally disturbing to note that the courts below had also, conveniently or otherwise, failed to advert to such contradictions and some downright falsehood.”

Thousands of Muslims gathered demanding her execution. Her whereabouts has been kept secret for security reasons and has been offered asylum by several countries. Islam is prevalent amongst the very streets Asia and her family lived. She will never be free in a country that champions the Islamic ideology.  

When Amnesty International hail the decision as a "landmark verdict", I lament because nothing will change. Blasphemy laws and the punishment of death is still upheld in Pakistan and I would be very surprised if it is ever reformed. The Supreme courts, the Judges, the Police and government officials who have a moral compass by speak out against these barbaric Sharia practices do so with a death warrant over their lives. Two senior politicians, a governor and a minister of minorities - who spoke out in support of Bibi were assassinated in 2011. There are still roughly 40 other people on death row or serving life sentences for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). 

The Holy Qur’an has unequivocally described the glorification and exaltation of their Prophet and has ordered Muslims to strictly observe maximum respect and be extremely careful in this regard, to the extent of using most appropriate words and even lowering their voices, failing to do will render all their good deeds in vain, as mentioned in the following Verse.

 Among the Jews are those who distort words from their [proper] usages and say, "We hear and disobey" and "Hear but be not heard" and "Ra'ina" (twisting their tongues and defaming the religion. And if they had said [instead], "We hear and obey" and "Wait for us [to understand]," it would have been better for them and more suitable. But Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, except for a few. [An-Nisa (4:46)]

And here

“O ye who believe! raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, (nor shout when speaking to him as you shout one to another, lest your deeds be rendered vain while you perceive not.” [Al-Hujurat (4:46)]

Ibn Tamiyyah, while explaining this verse writes, “In this Verse the believers have been prohibited from raising their voices over the voice of the Prophet (so that their loud voice before the Prophet (may render their good deeds as vain while they will not understand it”. Allah declared the enemy of Prophet Muhammad (as the enemy of Allah and ordained that, in this temporary world and also in the eternal life hereinafter, there is a punishment of highest degree for those who disbelieves or disrespects him. For reference, some of the Verses are mentioned hereinbelow:

“Ask forgiveness for them, [O Muhammad], or do not ask forgiveness for them. If you should ask forgiveness for them seventy times - never will Allah forgive them. That is because they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people”. [At-Tawbah (9:80)]. The list goes on and on and on!

For Britain calls on Theresa May to condemn this in the strongest term and withdraw aid from Pakistan with immediate effect. Our government cannot continue to support a country which practices medieval rituals.

This is real. It’s happening and it is coming to our homes soon!

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently ruled that freedom of speech must be balanced with "protecting the religious feelings" of others. Hence, Europeans are no longer allowed to call Muhammad offensive names like "paedophile," even though he had sex with a prepubescent nine-year-old girl named Aisha stated in the Islamic sources. Sharia always finds a way, we are not free anymore!

Ideologies cannot be removed from the hearts of people where the moral compass is set to sub-zero unless we continue the debates through intellectual dialogue and free speech. We still have a grip on our great Country but it is slowly slipping away. Don't be complacent, don't sit comfortably reading this. You have a moral compass, you are able to make a difference. 

Join us in this momentous journey to restore our country and protect women like me from becoming Asia Bibi.

Warm blessings

Kadeeja Adam

Deputy Chair

 

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