On November 1, 2018, the ERLC rejoiced at the news of Asia Bibi’s blasphemy charge and death penalty being overturned by the Pakistani Supreme Court. However, since the acquittal, Bibi’s family has reportedly been hunted by Islamic extremist while Asia is being held in protective custody. Currently, Bibi’s request for asylum has been complicated by the protestors who are causing unrest in Pakistan. Demonstrators in Pakistan continue to push for her execution. According to the leader of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, “there will be war if they send Asia out of the country.”
As Christians, we must not forget our brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution for their faith in other countries. We must resolve to pray for them and call upon our leaders to use all appropriate and available means to secure their release and asylum in another country that they might be able to live in peace (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
Furthermore, we must remember that the blasphemy laws of Pakistan and similar countries attempt to undermine God as the Lord of the conscience. No nation or government should have the authority to dictate what its citizens believe about the most important realities in the world. Though the Pakistani government sought to control the consciences of its people, Asia Bibi was not obligated to submit to their illegitimate authority in the matter. God, not government, is the only one who possesses the legitimate authority to judge the consciences of humanity.
Remembering Asia Bibi and her family
We must not let Bibi’s plight be forgotten. In today’s fast-paced media cycle, we must resolve not to move on. Asia needs God to intervene in her dire situation. Moreover, Christians, as fellow members of the body of Christ, need to be concerned with the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters in Christ. So, here are three ways to remember Asia Bibi in prayer:
- Asylum: Remember to pray for Asia Bibi and her family to be granted asylum in a country that can adequately care for and protect them from other Islamic extremists who would seek to do them harm.
- Safety: Remember to pray for Asia Bibi and her family to be safely removed from Pakistan once they are granted asylum in another country. Part of the difficulty with their situation is the internal corruption of the Pakistani government, the influence of the Islamic protestors, and the lack of safety that is being afforded to the family during the process. While Asia is in protective custody, her family is always on the move, evading those who are trying to find them and kill them through mob violence.
- Assimilation: Finally, remember to pray for Asia Bibi and her family as they seek to not only leave Pakistan but assimilate into a new culture and community. Many of us cannot imagine what it would be like to be forever removed from the culture and community of your upbringing. While the Pakistani government’s blasphemy laws have inflicted much harm on Bibi and her family, Pakistan as a country is still her home. She will be forced to leave all she has ever known because of her refusal to abandon her faith in Christ. May the Lord bless Asia and her family as those who “have left houses and brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers and fields for Christ’s sake” and “receive a hundred times as much and inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29).