Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Don't Conclude that You Can't Help the Severely Persecuted Until You Read This



You have no doubt heard or are aware of all the world's atrocities. The ongoing Middle East violence and inhumanity. The violence and hostility in the Ukraine. Disturbing and graphic stories of violence in Syria. One recent and one current Malaysian plane crash with no survivors. The heart-wrenching crisis of thousands of children crossing the US border to escape the horrors of their homelands. What the news rarely mentions is that Christians in many of these countries are caught in the middle of all that and probably suffer most of all. You may be thinking, It's all so massive and dire, what can I do about it?

One Christian wife and mom, in Pakistan, needs your help. You can help her. It's simple.

This sister in Christ is named Asia Bibi. For a little over five years she has been in a Pakistani prison, awaiting a death sentence. What was Asia's "crime"? It dates back to June 19, 2009. That day, Asia and other ladies were debating theological matters. When a lady, according to Voice of the Martyrs (a Christian nonprofit that serves the persecuted), championed Islam, Asia countered, "Our Jesus is alive. Our Christ sacrificed for our sins...Our Christ is alive." The ladies, growing angry, assaulted Asia. Males bystanders, locking her in a room, threatened to punish her. Trying to protect Asia, local Christians call the police. Asia was taken into protective custody. Despite pleas not to charge Asia with blasphemy and due to pressure by Muslim authorities, Asia was charged with blasphemy anyway.

After a long trial, a judge sentenced Asia to death on November 10, 2010. She was fined $1190 (US currency). Despite the advocacy of Salmaan Taseer (Panjubi governor) and that of Shahbaz Bhatti (Christian cabinet member of Pakistan), Asia remains in prison and awaits a death sentence. Her two advocates were killed for their efforts to assist her. Asia is only one believer who is jailed or imprisoned for because they bear Christ's Name and have identified as Christians. Only one. In China, a Christian leader has been imprisoned for six years. IN more recent months, the media, to their credit, have covered the story of Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian wife and mom who was also put in prison and sentenced to death for identifying as a Christian. She was charged as an apostate. That was in Sudan. The media have kept Meriam in the news and the massive advocacy and international pressure on her behalf have pressured Sudan to release Meriam. Meriam, her husband and their two small children remain in a US Embassy in Sudan and await government approval to leave Sudan and enter the US. Every signature of petitions set up for Meriam, every share of those petitions, and every effort to support nonprofits advocating for her, every letter written on her behalf, have saved Meriam's life. What can such united efforts and advocacy do for other people who have no voice?

Asia remains in prison. Because two sympathetic authorities already were killed in the attempt to advocate for her, other are afraid to assist her. But, maybe we can still help. There is a petition to the Pakistani authorities that has the goal of collecting 1,000,000 signatures before taking it to those authorities. Please sign it here. Thank you!

The above photo of Asia is courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs, Inc..

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