Pakistani protesters chant slogans during a rally in Lahore against Asia Bibi, a Christian mother sentenced to death. Asia Bibi, a Christian 45-year-old mother-of-five, has been sentenced to hang in Pakistan after being convicted of defaming the Prophet Mohammed. Her family, who has gone into hiding following death threats, submitted today a new plea for her clemency. (AFP/Arif Ali)
Pakistani hardliners threatened attacks if Christian mother Asia Bibi is released from prison. Bibi is condemned to death for insulting the prophet Muhammad.
The AP reported:
Around 250 hard-line Muslims staged a demonstration in the central Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, warning the president not to pardon a Christian woman sentenced to death for insulting Islam.
They also denounced any attempt to change Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which critics say is often misused to persecute Christians like Asia Bibi and other minorities. Her case has prompted outrage from human rights groups and a personal appeal from Pope Benedict XVI for her release.
But hard-line Islamic groups in Pakistan have pushed back and some have even threatened officials in the past who suggested reforming or repealing the blasphemy law. These groups have significant power since politicians from the major parties rely on them for votes.
“We are ready to sacrifice our life for the Prophet Muhammad,” chanted protesters in Lahore — many of whom were students from Islamic seminaries in the city.
The rally was organized by the Movement for Protection of the Prophet’s Honor, a group of hard-line Sunni Muslims that was formed in 2001 to oppose changes in the blasphemy law.
Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of five, has said she was falsely accused by a group of Muslim women angry at a dispute over whether they could share the same water bowl. She has been jailed in the eastern province of Punjab since her initial arrest 1 1/2 years ago.
Supporters of a Pakistani religious group rally, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010 in Lahore, Pakistan to condemn the release of a Christian woman Asia Bibi who had been sentenced to death. (AP)