Open Doors USA President: Pakistani Blasphemy Law Must Be Repealed
SANTA ANA, Calif. (Nov. 23, 2010) – Open Doors President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller says while Christians worldwide need to continue to pray for the release of Asia Noreen (Bibi) from prison on “blasphemy” charges, the government of Pakistan needs to repeal the repressive law to prevent even more marginalization of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.
“The larger problem is that the blasphemy law exists in the first place,” he states. “That a person like Asia – and many others through the years – can be put in prison for a year and a half without even telling her side of the story is a travesty of justice and basic human rights. Christians and the international community need to keep pressure on the Pakistani government to drop laws like this one and not cave in to the Muslim extremists.”
According to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, it is a crime punishable by death to blaspheme the Quran or the prophet Mohammad. The law is often used by Muslims to settle personal grudges against Christians.
A vote is scheduled this week on the Defamation of Religions Resolution at the United Nations. The resolution would legitimize action against Christians and other minorities in Muslim countries, including the blasphemy law in Pakistan. The resolution is sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). Open Doors has been advocating countries to vote against the resolution and also has collected over 240,000 signatures worldwide from people who are urging a “no” vote on the resolution.
Earlier this month Asia became the first woman sentenced to death by hanging under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. The 45-year-old Asia, a mother of five, was found guilty of blasphemy despite no evidence that she committed the crime and her repeated denial of the charges.
Moeller adds that even if Asia is pardoned and released, she and her family likely will face death threats from Muslim extremists. Already extremists have threatened to riot and even kill Asia if she is released, according to several reports.
“Just last week Compass Direct News reported two Muslim extremists shot a Christian to death shortly after the victim was granted bail in a blasphemy case and less than a week after Islamist militants killed four members of a Christian family for their faith,” says Moeller. “The ugly ramifications of this law are limitless for those who already have either no or little religious freedom.”
(To set up an interview with Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected].)
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.