Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Global Ministries welcomes the freeing of Christian woman in Pakistan

By Thomas Kemper

I thank God that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has reversed the conviction of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death eight years ago on charges of blaspheming the Prophet Mohammad. I also pray that negative reaction to the court action of Oct. 31 will not foment violence against the country’s Christian minority.

Bibi, a Catholic, was convicted in 2010 of violating Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which prohibits speaking ill of the Prophet Mohammed. The alleged offense occurred in a verbal dispute with a Muslim neighbor, who brought charges. Bibi insisted on her innocence and the Supreme Court has now agreed with her, ordering that she be freed. She was held in solitary confinement for most of the last eight years. Freeing Bibi in such a case is a landmark judicial action in Pakistan.

Supporters of strict enforcement of the blasphemy law organized protests of the ruling in Islamabad, seat of the Supreme Court, and other cities. I earnestly hope that opposition will not vent itself in violence against Christians in the heavily Islamic country.

Global Ministries has a long history of support for Pakistani religious minority communities, which often suffer discrimination and violence. This support has taken the form of scholarships and other education grants, disaster relief, funding of international study of the effects of the blasphemy law, and a series of statements.

*Thomas G. Kemper is the General Secretary of Global Ministries.