We are a country, a people of freedom. We fight for it, delight in it and even take it for granted from time to time. This past week we celebrated Veteran’s Day by honoring those who defend our freedom. But not everyone enjoys it!
Nearly 70% of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with little or no freedom of religion.
Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Conservative estimates place the number of those who die for their faith at somewhwere around 150,000 every year! How can we possibly do anything to help with such an enormous issue? By praying for just one person! VOM – The Voice of the Martyrs – offers the following report.
On Nov. 8, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge in Pakistan, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. VOM contacts reported that her attorney will appeal the sentence.
Asia was arrested by police on June 19, 2009, and charged with blasphemy after she engaged in a religious discussion with co-workers. Many of the local women, including Asia, worked on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees. During their work, many of the Muslim women had pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. Her family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.
On June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam, and, according to VOM sources, Asia responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins. She told them Jesus is alive. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them.
Upon hearing this response, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.
Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She is currently being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there had urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.
VOM is assisting Asia’s family and urges you to continue praying for Asia and her family during this difficult time. Pray that her appeal will be successful and that God will act on her behalf. Pray that Christians in Pakistan will continue to stand for Christ.
Will we use our freedom for ourselves or to pray for fellow believers who are suffering?