Pakistan’s population is 170 million, three million of whom are Christians. The country also has three million Hindus and a miniscule Sikh community (about 20,000 people). Presumably there are no out of the closet atheists anywhere in Pakistan. And no Jews.
Below is an image of one of Pakistan’s Christian citizens. Her name is Asia Bibi. She’s 45-years-old, a mother of five children, and she has just been sentenced to death for blaspheming the prophet Muhammad.
Isn’t that lovely?
Presumably her sentence will be reversed on appeal, but she has sat in prison since June of last year and her family has (obviously) been traumatized by the whole charade. Here’s The Telegraph:
Her supporters say she will now appeal against the sentence handed down in a local court in the town of Sheikhupura, near Lahore, Pakistan. Ashiq Masih, her husband, said he had not had the heart to break the news to two of their children. “I haven’t told two of my younger daughters about the court’s decision,” he said. “They asked me many times about their mother but I can’t get the courage to tell them that the judge has sentenced their mother to capital punishment for a crime she never committed.” Mrs Bibi has been held in prison since June last year.
And the whole kill-the-blasphemer thing got started when some self-righteous Muslim women decided that Asia Bibi was too unclean (being a Christian) to receive a drink from:
The court heard she had been working as a farmhand in fields with other women, when she was asked to fetch drinking water. Some of the other women – all Muslims – refused to drink the water as it had been brought by a Christian and was therefore “unclean”, according to Mrs Bibi’s evidence, sparking a row. The incident was forgotten until a few days later when Mrs Bibi said she was set upon by a mob. The police were called and took her to a police station for her own safety. Shahzad Kamran, of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, said: “The police were under pressure from this Muslim mob, including clerics, asking for Asia to be killed because she had spoken ill of the Prophet Mohammed. “So after the police saved her life they then registered a blasphemy case against her.” He added that she had been held in isolation for more than a year before being sentenced to death on Monday.
Now hold on here. I thought Islam respects religious diversity and embraces peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims, and that these are values that all Muslims are taught (because they are supposedly articulated in no uncertain terms in the Quran).
But if this is the case, why haven’t the Muslims in the town of Sheikhupura, near Lahore, gotten this important memo? Why are they so crass? And what has made them so crass—and even grotesque, cruel, and inhumane? Is this what a Muslim majority community is supposed to behave like, or are these people fundamentally misunderstanding the heart of their own religion?