In 2009, Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five living in a small town in Muslim-majority Pakistan, was arrested for allegedly making “blasphemous” remarks against Mohammed, the founder of Islam.
Bibi was accused of the “offense” by several Muslim co-workers after an argument broke out because they refused to share water with her, claiming it was unclean due to her Christian faith.
Bibi was subsequently beaten and allegedly raped at her home, during which her attackers coerced a “blasphemy” confession out of her. She was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to death by hanging.
Last week, Bibi was acquitted of the charge by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and set free from death row, where she was being held in solitary confinement.
Despite the news, danger remains for Bibi and her family.
The ruling has provoked violent protests by Islamic hardliners across the country. Mobs calling for Bibi’s death have spread to multiple cities. Protesters have engaged in clashes with police and paramilitary has been dispatched to keep protesters from the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.
The Pakistani government also put Bibi on a no fly list, in effect, disallowing her to leave the country. The government also let Islamists appeal her acquittal. Bibi’s lawyer fled the country Saturday after threats were made to his life.
Bibi and her family are in serious danger. Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, begged, via video message, U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to grant his wife and their family asylum in the West.