Shawn Taseer delivered moving remarks about his father, the former governor of Punjab, who was killed for standing up to the blasphemy law there. He pointed out that while his father specifically was killed defending Asia Bibi, who is now finally free. He described them as prisoners of conscience who are include the elderly, sick, and illiterate. “Abandon them at your peril.”
Bibi was charged with blasphemy in a Pakistani court and sentenced to death. In late 2018 she was acquitted, but she was not allowed to leave the country until May 2019.
“As we celebrate these victories, we must be mindful of the challenges ahead,” he said. “While Asia Bibi — the world’s most famous prisoner victim of blasphemy is a free woman — I want you all to know that there are 200 Asia Bibis in jail accused of blasphemy law in Pakistan today and these are only the reported cases.”
According to Aid to the Church in Need, between the years 1990 and 2017 more than 20 Christians have been killed in Pakistan after being accused of blasphemy.
Souce: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/ten-things-that-caught-my-eye-about-the-ministerial-on-advancing-religious-freedom/ and https://www.persecution.org/2019/07/20/son-slain-governor-claims-200-asia-bibis-pakistan/
The Christian faith will always present a radical challenge to any power that makes absolute claims for itself, and there are plenty of those in the world today. Across the globe, in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, Christians are being bullied, arrested, jailed, expelled and executed. Christianity is by most calculations the most persecuted religion of modern times. Yet Western politicians until now have been reluctant to speak out in support of Christians in peril.
‘The Times’ editorial cited above continued, ‘The West must be ready to support the Christian faith. That, rather than embarrassment, has to be the starting point of our necessary conversations with…. followers of other faiths.’ And it concluded, ‘We cannot be spectators at this carnage.’ Indeed we cannot, and it is the hope of the whole Review team that this report will help the FCO not to be spectators but to be actors using their very best efforts to address this egregious phenomenon.
Confronting absolute power is certainly a legitimate concern and policy objective of any democratic government. Indeed the Christian faith’s inherent challenge to absolutist claims explains why it has been such a key foundation stone of Western democratic government – and explains too why we should continue to support it vigorously wherever it is under threat.
Click this link to read more about Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians: https://christianpersecutionreview.org.uk/report/
Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Kurdistan has been the prime mover behind the establishment of two major new Christian institutions in the region. In 2016, the Catholic University in Erbil opened its doors and late summer will see the formal opening of the new Catholic hospital in Erbil, the Maryamana, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. For more than three years, the Archdiocese of Erbil hosted more than 120,000 Christians who fled the 2014 onslaught of ISIS on the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq. While some 40,000 faithful have since returned to their homes, many thousands have made Kurdistan their permanent home. The university—the only Catholic university in Iraq— and hospital will be a significant boost for the re-established Christian communities on the Nineveh Plains as well as for the local Christian community in Kurdistan. The archbishop spoke with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about the significance of both projects.
The hospital’s mission aligns with that of the Church. Any person, regardless of religion or race, can receive treatment at Maryamana Hospital; priority will be given to those whose medical needs are most urgent. It is well known that Muslims trust Christian healthcare professionals.