Update on Asia Bibi

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

Pakistan (MNN) — Asia Bibi, a Christian woman and mother of five children, lost her appeal with the Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Thursday. It means her death sentence on a blasphemy conviction stands.

The Voice of the Martyrs USA says her lawyers now have 30 days to file an appeal with Pakistan’s Supreme Court in Islamabad, the highest court in the land. It starts into motion a long appeal process that is expected to take years of more waiting.

During the hearing, nearly 2,000 mullahs gathered outside the court to put pressure on the judges. When she learned the outcome, Asia Bibi told VOM contacts, “Please do something. It’s been so long, and I want to be with my children.” Many humanitarian advocates warn that even if the court should rule in Bibi’s favor, she may be made an assassination target for Muslim extremists.

Bibi has been convicted of blasphemy for drinking from the same bowl of water as Muslims and making derogatory comments about the prophet Muhammad. According to the original VOM report:

On Friday, June 19, 2009, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith.

The Muslim women told Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling them about her faith in Christ. Asia told the Muslim women Christ had died on the cross for sins, then asked them what Mohammad had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them that Jesus is alive, but Mohammad is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”

She was beaten and later taken into custody, then charged under the blasphemy law.

Found guilty of blasphemy in November 2010, this wife and mother has been on death row for almost four years. The court process has been agonizingly slow. Thursday’s decision was delayed five times this year.

Pray that Asia will not lose heart but would continue to look to Jesus for daily strength and grace. May her worried family members and other loved ones be granted much patience and peace as they support this dear sister in Christ during her time of trial.

Pray that God will be present in every detail of preparation for the upcoming hearing so it may go smoothly and result in Asia’s freedom from prison.

Finally, please also pray for the many other Christians in Pakistan who are facing blasphemy charges or other false allegations because of their love for Jesus Christ.