Among the issues faced by persecuted Christians across the Muslim world today, the issues of apostasy and blasphemy are among the most devastating. Examples of Christians being affected by this issues are easily found in today’s new, but what does it really mean to commit blasphemy or to be come apostate?
6/2/2014 Sudan, Pakistan (One News Now) – With the many news reports on Christians and people of other faiths being accused of apostasy or blasphemy, it is important to understand what those charges entail.
Apostasy is defined as the renunciation of a religious faith. As we have reported on OneNewsNow, Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman in Sudan, just gave birth in prison where she awaits a death sentence for apostasy. Ibrahim’s accusers mistakenly claim she was Muslim and renounced that faith to become a Christian.
Blasphemy means great disrespect to God or something holy. A Pakistani woman named Asia Bibi is in prison on charges of blasphemy. When Muslim co-workers tried to get her to convert to Islam, she refused and reportedly told them, “Mohammed is dead; Jesus is alive.” Her accusers then went to authorities, albeit four days after the alleged conversation.
Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs says that Bibi should have a strong case.
“Her lawyers feel like that is really a strong part of their appeal, to say, ‘Listen, this wasn’t like they went to the police right away. They waited four more days. If blasphemy really occurred, why didn’t they go immediately to the police and file these charges?’ But that’s what started all this, a conversation between co-workers, with Muslim co-workers pressuring Asia Bibi to convert to Islam while she defended her faith in Jesus Christ.”
Bibi has been in jail since 2010. All five of her appeals have been canceled, including one last week.
Also in Pakistan, a popular television station has been accused of blasphemy by the government.