Thursday, November 7, 2013

You Can Help A Christian Wife and Mom In Pakistan



Imagine what it is like to live in a country where standing up for your Christian faith is illegal and can get you a prison sentence and worse, death. Imagine being separated from your family, including your children. Imagine being accused of "blasphemy" because of standing up for your Christian faith instead of for the Muslim beliefs that you were raised in. Imagine being given the death penalty because, in so doing this, you are considered a traitor. Imagine living in a country where there is a state religion, it was the one you were raised in but is no longer the one you find meaningful for your life. Imagine not being able to freely practice or speak up for your faith because your faith is a minority religion and the state religion is the only one that is legal to practice or stand for. Imagine wasting away in prison, not because you have done anything wrong, but because you have stood up for what you believed to be right. Imagine not having idea what your future. Imagine being stripped of your voice, and being totally dependent on a caring worldwide Christian community to advocate for you so you can freely practice your faith and see your family again.

This is the sad plight of a Christian wife and mother. Her name is Asia Bibi. Asia is only one of many Christians all over the world who live in restricted countries where they face government harassment, fines, imprisonment and even death, for practicing or standing up for their faith. Many countries are restricted in the sense that they have state religions like Islam, or are Communist countries. Those who say that Christians no longer face severe persecution for their faith are wrong. This is fortunately true in North America and throughout Europe, where severe, physical persecution is mostly unknown. But with the outlawing of any Christian expression in public schools at all levels, and in other public places, I wonder if we are actually truly "free." At least we don't have the fear of facing government harassment, fines, prison or even death, for practicing our faith in private settings. We are free to attend church services, gather with other believers, pray, and serve in our communities in Jesus' Name. We are at least tolerated by our governments, if not embraced.

This is the situation of Asia Noreen Bibi, a Christian wife and mother in Pakistan. Asia is a Muslim-background believer, having been raised in Pakistan's state religion, Islam. Asia, at one point. come to know God through Christ and converted to the Christian faith. Doing this is considered a crime, as Islam is Pakistan's state religion. Once, when Asia stood up for her faith, she was accused of "blasphemy," arrested, charged with a crime and convicted. She was sentenced to prison and the death penalty. Renouncing Islam for any "minority religion," including the Christian faith, is considered "blasphemy" in Muslim-dominated countries. This "blasphemy" is considered a rejection of the Islam god, Allah. This is in and of itself evidence that Islam does NOT see all of us as "praying to the same god." (We Christians must be clear on the fact that it is heresy to claim that all of us, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or any other religion, all "bow the knee to the same god." (Jesus made THAT clear). Aside from that, Asia is only ONE example of many Christians in Muslim countries who are charged or convicted of "blasphemy" for bravely practicing and speaking up for their Christian faith. Asia's individual plight is one that has been made public and should increase awareness of worldwide persecution of Christians.

It was several years ago that my awareness of Asia Bibi was raised through a Christian nonprofit, VOM had, several years ago, began a petition drive on their own platform and their goal is at least 1,000,000 signatures. It can be found here. You can educate yourself more about Asia Bibi there. This brave Christian wife and mom has been separated from her family for years and her children have been without their mom's love and guidance. No Christian finds it a happy or comfortable thing to know that millions of our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing government harassment, fines, imprisonment and even death, just because they practice their Christian faith, pray, own and distribute Bibles, and share their faith. It makes us feel overwhelmed and helpless. But we can help Asia Bibi, one Christian wife and mom, by educating ourselves about her, spreading the word of her plight, and signing her petition here. While there are other petitions for her, this one at VOM is the primary one and worthy of your signatures and shares.

Those of us in the free world, in North America and in Europe, are blessed in having and enjoying our religious liberty. True, it has become "freedom from religion," but we do not have to deal with the severe issues of so many fellow Christians throughout the world. Those of you who feel led by God to help them more, can educate yourselves a lot and find out how you can help. You can visit here. Please sign Asia Bibi's petition. Can they count on you?

Photo courtesy of MorgueFile.com.

Photo by hotblack.

This photo can be found here.

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