National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Day of prayer launched for Pakistani victims

 | 

ROME -- Catholics and human rights activists have called for a worldwide day of prayer for Asia Bibi and other victims of the anti-blasphemy law in Pakistan.

The Masihi Foundation, a Pakistani group that works to protect minority rights in Pakistan and is providing legal assistance to Bibi, said the idea was to rally prayerful support April 20, the Wednesday of Holy Week.

Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, has been jailed since June 2009 and still awaits a trial date for her appeal.

The day of prayer "intends to bring into communion all believers and all people of goodwill in prayer and to light a candle, imploring God's salvation and the freedom of this woman and all who suffer the consequences of being falsely accused of blasphemy," Haroon Masih, the Masihi Foundation's director, told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Catholic leaders in Pakistan and human rights activists have said the country's anti-blasphemy law has been misused to persecute Christians and other minorities.

NCR-issue-christmas-icon.jpgGive a Christmas gift that lasts all year. Give the gift of NCR!

Fides reported that the day of prayer has received support from Bishop Andrew Francis of Multan, president of the Pakistani bishops' committee for interreligious dialogue, as well as from the Pontifical Mission Societies in Pakistan and from several orders of nuns in Spain and Italy who identify themselves as "Asia Bibi's guardian angels."

The Masihi Foundation is also involved with the blasphemy case of Arif Masih, another Christian who was arrested in Faisalabad April 5. The Masihi Foundation's lawyers have called for the immediate release of Masih, who is accused by a Muslim neighbor of ripping pages from the Quran and telling local Muslims to convert to Christianity.

News sources reported that many believe the accusation is based on a land dispute between the neighbors.

The Masihi Foundation lawyers told Fides, "They cannot detain him without even a complaint against him or without any court order."

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Christmas-Feature-Flag-300x100.jpg

NCR Email Alerts