A Christian woman in Pakistan has claimed that she was handed a death sentence simply because she was "thirsty." The mother of five, who is currently in prison on death row, was sentenced to death by hanging in 2009 after being accused of blasphemy – a charge she adamantly denies. She has now released her memoir, "Blasphemy," from prison where she tells her shocking side of the story.
Asia Bibi's case has gained widespread international media attention since she was arrested four years ago on blasphemy charges while working as a fruit-picker in the northeastern area of Pakistan. Bibi co-wrote Blasphemy with French television journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet. The book details her struggles as a Christian in a predominately Muslim land, including her arrest and sentencing to death. Although the book was released in France in 2011, media outlets have recently released excerpts from the book to keep the memory of Bibi's hardship alive, and a new wave of media attention has been drawn to Bibi's case.
Bibi's imprisonment began shortly after July 2009; she was picking fruit in the northeastern area of Pakistan to make extra income for her husband and five children when her life changed forever. Temperatures in the fruit field reached above a sweltering 100 degrees, and Bibi, parched, chose to drink out of the communal well shared with other female-fruit pickers, all of whom were Muslim. The Muslim women objected to Bibi, a Christian, drinking out of the same metal cup as them, arguing that it was "haram," or the Islamic term for anything forbidden by God. more >>
Egypt's 2012 constitution, drafted and adopted under President Morsi, reflected the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamist goals, giving prominence to Sunni sharia and restricting the rights of non-Muslims. As my colleague and Egypt analyst Samuel Tadros observed on NRO last December, it was a "clear setback for religious freedom."
Undermining religious freedom, of course, is not a small matter, not a mere nuisance to a few outliers. In Egypt, Morsi's Islamist constitution helped provoke a popular uprising by a broad range of groups opposed to the state's forcible imposition of Islamism, which in turn led to the military overthrow of the government on July 3.
The constitution was immediately suspended. "Suggested" articles for a new one, determined by a ten-member government-appointed committee, have been drafted and, over the past few days, have leaked out. more >>
North Carolina has become the seventh state to explicitly prohibit Sharia law interpretation in court after Gov. Pat McCrory denied vetoing House bill 522.
McCrory, a Republican, refused to sign the bill, entitled "Foreign Law/Protect Constitutional Rights," calling it "unnecessary." However, he also did not actively veto the bill, and therefore the piece of legislation automatically became law on Monday.
The bill, sponsored by six Republican representatives, seeks to protect the constitutional rights of those involved in family court matters, including domestic and child abuse cases, by prohibiting judges from interpreting "foreign law," including the Islamic Sharia law, or a set of legal codes imposed by the teaching of Islam, as well as Jewish law. more >>
The persistent talk and speculation as to what the U.S. should do about the crisis in Egypt is irrelevant. What will happen in Egypt will happen regardless of what the U.S., or any other country, does or doesn't do about it.
Egypt is seized by the forces of change-albeit a painful change that could, and possibly will, cause much damage to that country. It is the price it pays for decades of political, economic, and social stagnation. Egypt's present experience is the result of a lack of gradual change that should have taken place over time and in stages.
In order to perpetuate their position of power, Egypt's rulers prevented socio-political change to take place. And as time passed by, the opposition gradually retreated to increasingly radical positions. It was the fear of this radicalization that General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi toppled Mohamed Morsi's government. more >>
President Barack Obama's administration has been accused of joking about the violent attacks against Christians in Egypt after a question at a press briefing about the "red line" in the crisis.
"With people being killed, Christians in particular being targeted, churches being destroyed, what's the President's red line in Egypt?" White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked by a journalist at a press conference last week, to which he replied "Well, I didn't bring my red pen out with me today."
Earnest went on to say that the White House has "condemned in unambiguous terms all of the violence that has been perpetrated in Egypt," and said that the Obama administration is encouraging Egypt's interim government to work toward a non-violent solution. more >>
After Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi was recently removed from power in Egypt, Islamic radicals went to work in that country. First came the red graffiti that was splashed on Christian churches, homes and shops. Then came the attacks. Since August 14, at least 47 church buildings and monasteries have been set ablaze or looted, including one Coptic Church that had just been built after 13 years of haggling for construction permits.
Christian schools, homes, and shops are continuously besieged by Brotherhood supporters who have killed several Christians in recent days as they protest the deposing of their Islamist leader. Up to now the Obama Administration has not condemned the anti-Christian persecution that has swept that country. Congressional response has been muddled: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) says that aid to Egypt has been halted because of the riots, but the Pentagon says that is not true. But open discussion about the anti-Christian animus in that nation is regularly avoided.
Regardless of the intransigence of leaders in Washington, private citizens are saying, "enough is enough." In the West, an online public petition is calling for national leaders, including President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, to demand an end to anti-Christian violence in Egypt. more >>