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ICC Note:

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother on death row in Pakistan, has told her family that she has forgiven her persecutors this Christmas. In 2010, Bibi was convicted and sentenced to death for committing blasphemy against Islam during an argument she had with Muslim co-workers. According to reports, the argument started when Bibi’s co-workers were offended when Bibi, a Christian, used the same water bowl as the Muslims. Often, blasphemy accusations in Pakistan are false and used as a weapon to settle personal disputes. Now that Bibi has forgiven her persecutors, will they forgive her? 

1/6/2016 Pakistan (Christian Post) – Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, has told her family who visited her in prison that she has forgiven those who falsely accused her.

“Christmas is the celebration of God’s mercy. I forgive my persecutors, those who have falsely accused me, and I await their forgiveness,” her family quoted her as saying, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Bibi was sentenced in 2010 following an incident in 2009 where she was harvesting berries with a group of Muslim women who accused her of drinking from the same water bowl as them. An argument followed, and those women went to a local cleric and told him that Bibi had blasphemed against Islam.

Last October, the Lahore High Court upheld her death penalty, and the Supreme Court is expected to schedule an appeal hearing soon.

“Jesus made this happy day for me and has accepted my prayers. I’m excited and full of joy in meeting today my family and celebrate Christmas with you,” she told her family when they met her on Christmas Eve, as translated by Christian Today from a La Stampa report.

“Today [Dec. 24] is also the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Peace be upon him, on this day. Honestly, I could never even think of disrespect. But, although I have been in prison for seven years, I do not hate those who did me wrong,” she added.

She continued: “I pray that Muhammad will bestow wisdom on his followers so that peace can go on being built around the world. I pray that Jesus Christ will grant peace to the whole world.”

Allegations of blasphemy often “stem from the Muslim accuser’s desire to take revenge” and to “settle petty, personal disputes,” according to Pakistan’s Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, or CLAAS.

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