A nationwide petition has been launched to save the life of a Pakistani mother who has been convicted of blasphemy.
The petition, launched by the Voice of the Martyrs, a group that monitors the persecution of Christians worldwide, aims to save the life of Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of five who has been imprisoned for over two years and is awaiting execution by hanging for violating Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
"She doesn't deserve to be executed," said Todd Nettleton, VOM director of media development, according to Christian Broadcasting Network.
Bibi was arrested on June 19, 2009 after having a discussion with Muslim co-workers where she defended her Christian faith.
According to VOM sources, Bibi worked on a farm run by Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees and staffed with mostly Muslim workers. After some Muslim women who worked with Bibi began to tell her about Islam, she in turn told them about Jesus.
“Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins. … Our Christ is alive,” Bibi told the women.
This provoked the Muslim women, who got angry and attacked Bibi. Afterwards, she was locked in a room and it was announced through a mosque's loudspeaker that she would have her face blackened as be paraded around the village like a donkey as punishment, VOM details.
After police were alerted of the situation by local Christians, Bibi was put in protective custody for her own safety. However, police claim they had no choice but to charge her because local officials insisted.
Imprisoned in the Lahore High Court awaiting her appeal, Bibi has suffered various health problems, but is supported by her husband who visits and prays with her daily.
VOM aims to collect 1 million signatures to urge for Bibi's release. Currently over 220,000 signatures have been collected, with over 150,000 signatures from Pakistan, over 55,000 from the US, over 2,000 from Canada and over 1,400 from Australia as well as from Nigeria, Germany, India and New Zealand.
“Every signature is a call for mercy,” VOM stated on their petition website.
Upon reaching 1 million signatures, VOM will present the petition to the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Nettleton told the CBN that the issue is not so much about the Pakistani blasphemy laws as it is returning a faithful woman back to her family.
"We're not attacking the Pakistani government," he said. "We're simply saying this Christian wife and mother deserves to be reunited with her husband and with her children."