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» 01/26/2011
PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians: day of fasting and prayer for the release of Asia Bibi
by Jibran Khan
Sponsored by the Bishop of Islamabad, the event is scheduled for January 30. The same day, Islamic fundamentalists have launched a "national protest" against changes to the blasphemy law. Bishop Anthony: We want to promote "peace and harmony" and the release of the Christian woman.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - On January 30 Pakistani Christians will celebrate a "day of fasting and prayer" for peace in the country and the salvation of Asia Bibi, the 45 year old mother of five sentenced to death for blasphemy. It is in response to the march of the Islamists, who will also hold a "national protest" on the same day against any changes to the "black law" and for the execution of the Christian woman. In recent days, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in different cities of Pakistan, stressing that they are prepared to "sacrifice their life” to defend the honour of the Prophet Muhammad.

Bishop Anthony Rufin of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, has launched an appeal through AsiaNews inviting Christians from all over the country to observe a day of fasting and prayer January 30 next. The prelate clarifies that the initiative aims to promote "peace and harmony," and raise awareness for the "release of Asia Bibi" held in prison pending appeal and threatened with death by Islamic fundamentalists. "It's a critical time - said the bishop - for Christians in Pakistan. So far, two things have dominated the thinking of our society: the megalomania (considering ourselves to be the best) and paranoia (that the world is conspiring against us). "Bishop Anthony adds that he met Ashiq Masih, husband of Asia, and their children. The youngest, Esha, confessed to the bishop in a low voice: "Now it is clear that they have taken away our rights to life and livelihood."

The Masihi Foundation, a human rights organization based in Lahore pleading the cause of Asia Bibi, wants the appeal process to take place in prison - in Sheikhpura, where she currently is being held, or Multan - for "security reasons" . The activists are willing to private security, in the case of transfer to the women's prison in Multan.

If Christians call to fasting and prayer, fundamentalists are dragging the crowds in the streets to support the "black law". On January 23 demonstrations were held in all major cities including Lahore, Karachi, Bahwalpur, Multan and Rawalpindi. In Lahore, about 1,500 people chanted slogans and threats, claiming to be ready to "sacrifice their life<2 to defend the honour of the Prophet Muhammad.

The extremist wing confirms the national demonstration scheduled for January 30, the day also will start the march to the capital Islamabad. The radicals want to get assurances from the government that the blasphemy law will not be repealed and Asia Bibi is executed. The protest will include the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), which confirmed the presence of party members.

 


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See also
10/01/2011 PAKISTAN
Pakistan: death sentence for Salman Taseer’s assassin Mumtaz Qadri
by Jibran Khan
11/26/2010 PAKISTAN
No immediate pardon for Asia Bibi. Appeal must go before the High Court
by Jibran Khan
01/07/2012 PAKISTAN
Lahore: death threats for Asia Bibi's lawyer and human rights activists
by Jibran Khan
03/30/2011 PAKISTAN
Shahbaz Batthi killed by a "mafia" of fundamentalists holding the government hostage
by Fareed Khan
11/16/2010 PAKISTAN
Bishop of Islamabad, Asia Bibi case "a disgrace" . A campaign by AsiaNews
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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