3 June, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile

mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 04/02/2014
Catholics and Muslims fasting and praying together for Asia Bibi and Sawan Masih
by Jibran Khan
Peaceful demonstrations took place today in Lahore and Islamabad to show solidarity with "persecuted Christians" and demand justice for the victims of the "black law". For a Lahore priest, the rallies are an "encouraging" response of civil society. "Disgusted" by the situation, a Muslim activist expresses his in solidarity for "our Christian brothers and sisters."

Lahore (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church of Pakistan today celebrated a Wednesday of Prayer and Fasting on behalf of Sawan Masih and Asia Bibi, two victims of the Asian country's controversial blasphemy laws.

Both have been sentenced to death and are awaiting for their appeal process to start. Meanwhile, several civil society organisations and ordinary believers have joined the initiative "in favour of the persecuted Christians".

Today activists and religious leaders led various peaceful demonstrations in Lahore and Islamabad in "a sign of kinship and solidarity."

Asia Bibi has become a symbol of the struggle against the "black law". Since she was sentenced to death in November 2010, she has been on death row, held in solitary confinement for her own security. After several delays and long prevarication, her appeal trial should start on 14 April.

Sawan Masih, a 26-year-old Christian from Lahore, was recently convicted in a lower court, on false charges made by the person with whom he had a personal disagreement.

His alleged actions led to a targeted attack minority Christians in the Joseph Colony in Lahore in which Islamic extremists set fire to hundreds of homes and two churches.

The Lahore High Court is set to hear his appeal on 25 July 2014. 

Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr Asher Arshad, from the Archdiocese of Lahore, noted the "encouraging response " that came in recent days from civil society groups who decided to respond positively to a call for fast and prayer on behalf "of Asia Bibi and Sawan Masih, both persecuted because for their faith."

In fact, "As we pray and fast" for the two victims, "we join our Christian brothers and sisters in solidarity," said Aqeel Mehadi, a human rights activist from Lahore.

"As a Muslim," he added, "I am disgusted by what has happened and what continues to happen."

Speaking about Ali Jinnah, the Founding Father of modern Pakistan, he said that the latter always stressed in his speeches the principle of religious freedom, imagining a liberal and multicultural nation where all citizens have "the right to practice their religion and not be imprisoned because of their faith."

"It is indeed sad to see that what has become of Pakistan," said Fr John Barkat, a priest and activist in Lahore.

"Unfortunately a handful of fanatics have promoted intolerance and paved the way for sectarian violence; as a result we have witnessed incidents like those in Shanti Nagar, Gojra and Joseph Colony. Let us therefore fast and pray for the persecuted in Pakistan."

In a statement, the Masihi Foundation and Life for All Pakistan also said, "Blasphemy remains a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan. The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to settle personal vendettas [. . .]. We peacefully protest against Masih's sentence and demand justice for Asia Bibi."

e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
12/20/2012 PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih: My Christmas close to Asia Bibi and victims of blasphemy
by Dario Salvi
04/05/2007 PAKISTAN
Life of 11-year-old Christian in danger even though he is not charged with anything
by Qaiser Felix
12/21/2010 PAKISTAN
Asia Bibi affair: Pakistani Christians to march on Christmas Day against blasphemy law
05/29/2006 PAKISTAN
Without evidence police arrest Christian on blasphemy charges
by Qaiser Felix
10/09/2006 PAKISTAN
Two Catholics arrested for blasphemy against the Qur'an
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
Vigil for persecuted Christians, our teachers in the mission in the West
by Bernardo CervelleraThe "wall of indifference and cynicism" and the silence and apathy so often denounced by Pope Francis have become almost a fortress. Such persecution reflects confessional manipulation, which slams Islam as such, and ideological manipulation, which forgets what is happening in North Korea or China. An increasingly post-Christian Europe seems disinterested in Christians.
Moscow Patriarchate: China authorises the ordination of Chinese Orthodox priests on its territory
by Marta AllevatoMetropolitan Hilarion, the Moscow Patriarchate’s ‘foreign minister’, made the announcement after a visit to China where he met the leaders of the State Administration for Religious Affairs. The first priest should serve in Harbin. Two more ordinations are expected. With a new Cold War as the background, the Moscow-Beijing strategic alliance also has a Church connection with the People's Republic recognising the latter’s 'political' role in Russia.
Pope: We and the four new saints, witnesses of the Resurrection "where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident "Francis proclaims four religious sisters saints: one French, one Italian, two Palestinians: Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, the foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary, and the Carmelite Maria of Crucified Jesus (nee Maria Bawardy). Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority present. "Abiding in Christ" and cultivating “unity among us" are essential signs of witness. Maria Bawardy, "instrument of encounter and communion with the Muslim world".


by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.