Published: 13:00 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 21 December 2011
Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi spends third Christmas behind bars
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Pakistan
Barnabas Fund is helping her family with practical needs
Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi is spending a third Christmas separated from her family as she awaits an appeal against her death sentence for “blasphemy” in a Pakistani prison.
|Aasia's husband Ashiq Masih with daughters Eisham (12), Sidra (18), and Esha (13)|
Aasia has been in jail since June 2009, when she was falsely accused of making derogatory remarks about Muhammad. She is being kept in isolation for her own safety, and is able to see her children only twice a year because of the security risk to them.
The family had an emotional reunion on 13 December, carefully organised by a Christian couple who run the school that Aasia’s daughters attend. When the incarcerated mother saw her children, she naturally wanted to hug and kiss them but was not initially allowed any contact. The school director pleaded with the jail authorities and obtained permission for the family to meet in a separate room. He said:
Aasia gave lots of hugs and kisses to the children; it was a moment where the mother could shower her love upon her children. It was a wonderful moment provided by the Lord Jesus Christ to the family of Aasia Bibi.
He said that joy turned to sorrow when it was time to say goodbye, adding, “Asia started crying and praying to God for His mercy and freedom so that she could stay with her family with peace and love.”
Barnabas helps Aasia’s family
On a recent trip to Pakistan, a Barnabas Fund staff member met with Aasia’s husband Ashiq Masih and daughters, Sidra (18), Esha (13) and Eisham (12), who is disabled.
Ashiq is unable to go out to work because of the risk to his safety; families of those accused of blasphemy in Pakistan are frequently targeted by Islamist extremists. The family are receiving support from the Christian community, especially from the daughters’ school, but are in great need.
Barnabas Fund is helping: we are providing them with a monthly food parcel and also funding other needs such as winter bedding, warm clothing and Christmas gifts for the children.
Our staff member said that, despite their ordeal, the family is remaining strong in their faith, and that Aasia in particular is growing in her trust in the Lord as she spends time praying and occasionally fasting in jail.
They are assured that people are praying for them and caring for them. The children are of course missing their mother terribly but have not given up hope that they will one day be together as a family again.
Aasia was sentenced to death for "defiling the name of Muhammad" – a charge she strongly denies – in November 2010. An appeal has been lodged before the Lahore High Court, but the case has been delayed and is unlikely to be heard soon because of the controversy and Muslim hostility surrounding it. Two Pakistani politicians, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, have been assassinated because of their support for Aasia and opposition to the blasphemy laws that condemned her. "Defiling the name of Muhammad" carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan.
You can help Aasia Bibi and other Christian victims of violence and injustice. Please send your donation to the Victims of Violence Fund (project 00-345).using our secure server.
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference Victims of Violence Fund (project 00-345).
If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference Victims of Violence Fund (project 00-345).
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/345 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).
- That the Lord will work wonderfully in the Pakistani justice system and that Aasia will be released soon.
- That Aasia and her family will be kept safe from all harm and that all their needs will be met.
- That the God of hope will fill Aasia and her family with all joy and peace as they trust in him, so that they may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)