Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hugs, kisses and tears

Not everyone had a good Christmas. There were shells and bullets in Syria, bombs in Nigeria and bombs in Iraq.

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani mother of several children I wrote about a few weeks ago, spent her third Christmas behind bars. More than two years ago, Asia, who is a Christian, went out to work in the fields with some other women, who were Muslims. There was a discussion about the relative merits of Christianity and Islam.

The Muslim women claim Asia made a disparaging remark about the prophet Mohammed. Asia was hauled before a Muslim court charged with blasphemy, and sentenced to death by hanging. Sentence has not yet been carried out.

Earlier this month she had a visit by her husband and children, organised by the Christian couple who run the school attended by Asia's daughters. Asia is able to see her children only twice a year. Physical contact is not permitted, but the school director pleaded with the prison authorities until the family were allowed to meet in another room.

There were lots of hugs and kisses until it was time for the family to leave, when the kisses turned to tears.

Asia's husband Ashiq Masih is in hiding and unable to work: relatives of people accused of blasphemy are often targeted by Islamic extremists. Her daughters Sidra (18), Esha (13) and Eisham (12), who is disabled, have not yet given up hope that the family will be united.

The family is receiving support from the Christian community, but is still in great need.

Barnabas Fund
is helping with provisions.