Archbishop Glenn Davies’ statement on the Christchurch mosque attacks

“All Christians, as well as people of faith or of none, will be shocked to learn of the mosque attacks in #Christchurch. We long for peace and freedom from violence in our streets, our homes and especially in places of prayer.

Archbishop Glenn Davies, March 15, 2019.”

(Media statement via Twitter.)

(The Archbishop has since contacted Muslim leaders in Sydney to express condolences and support for the Muslim community in Australia and NZ in the face of this atrocity.)

See also:

A statement issued by Bishop Peter Carrell on behalf of the leaders of churches in Christchurch city and Canterbury province – Scoop NZ.

Asia Bibi blasphemy acquittal upheld by Pakistan court

“Pakistan’s top court has rejected a challenge to the acquittal of a Christian woman on blasphemy charges.

The Supreme Court upheld its decision to overturn Asia Bibi’s conviction and death sentence. … Asia Bibi – also known as Asia Noreen – was unable to leave Pakistan while an appeal request was pending.”

– Good news from the BBC.

From The Express Tribune (Pakistan) –

“The hearing lasted nearly two hours and 45 minutes, during which both the prosecution and defence presented their points of view over the conviction.

Moments after the ruling was announced, Bibi’s lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook hinted that his client’s departure from the country was imminent. ‘I think at this time she is here (in Pakistan) – but by tonight, I don’t know,’ he told reporters outside the court. …”

And from Barnabas Fund

“The present whereabouts of Aasia Bibi are unknown and remain confidential for security reasons. After her release from Multan’s woman women’s prison on 7 November 2018, she was flown to Islamabad and taken to an undisclosed place amid concerns for her safety and that of her family.”

UK Foreign Secretary orders review into persecuted Christians’ plight

“Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered a review into the plight of persecuted Christians around the world and how much help they get from the UK.

The review, led by the Bishop of Truro, will look at government efforts to help some of the 215 million Christians who faced discrimination and violence last year, according to the Foreign Office. …

The intervention comes after an outcry over the treatment of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who faced death threats after being acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan.”

Story from BBC News.

Pakistani clerics who led violent protests over blasphemy acquittal are charged with terrorism

“Leaders of a hard-line Islamist group that staged violent protests across Pakistan after a Christian woman was acquitted of blasphemy will face charges of terrorism, according to the Government. …

Since she was freed on October 31, Ms Bibi and her family have been constantly threatened. Several countries have offered her asylum, however it is not known if she and her family have left the country.”

– Report from ABC News.

Australia to offer Asia Bibi asylum

“The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes confirmation from Australian Government sources that Asia Bibi and her family will be offered asylum.

‘This is momentous news for all who have lobbied so hard and so long for Asia Bibi,’ said ACL managing director Martyn Iles.

‘Government sources have this afternoon confirmed that it will make an offer of asylum to Asia Bibi if Canada does not do so in the coming days.’…”

A media release from the Australian Christian Lobby.

See also:

Asia Bibi is welcome in Australia, now Pakistan needs to demonstrate “fair-play” – The British Pakistani Christian Association.

Please do be encouraged to continue to pray.

Asia Bibi released from prison — report

“Asia Bibi has been set free from her long-term home under captivity at Multan Jail and we confirmed this with media after news from her family. …

Wilson Chowdhry has spoke with the family of Asia Bibi, at 6am UK time on 8th November and they expressed that is of the utmost importance that there be no further speculation on her whereabouts reported by either concerned groups or international media.”

– Report from the British Pakistani Christian Association.

See also:

Aasia Bibi freed from Multan jail, flown to IslamabadDAWN News, Pakistan.

“After her release from Multan’s women prison… Aasia Bibi was brought to Islamabad onboard a special aircraft on Wednesday night, Dawn learnt through reliable sources.”

No truth in reports of Aasia Bibi leaving Pakistan: Foreign Office  – DAWN News, Pakistan.

Update on Aasia Bibi and her current needs

“According to present information, Aasia Bibi is still in prison, as this is the only place where her safety can be guaranteed while she remains in Pakistan. Her husband and children are still in hiding, moving from place to place, and can no longer be contacted …”

Barnabas Fund has the latest, including the note that there is no reason for any organisation to request donations to help Aasia Bibi and her family leave the country.

Aasia Bibi still in gaol after government cut deal with hardliners, as husband appeals for UK asylum

“Aasia Bibi remains in jail in Pakistan after Imran Khan’s government bowed to threats of civil unrest, agreeing a deal with Islamic hardliners to end nationwide street protests following her acquittal. …“

– Report and photo from Barnabas Fund.

Pakistan works to stop Asia Bibi leaving after blasphemy protests

“Pakistan’s government has been accused of signing the ‘death warrant’ of Asia Bibi after it said it would begin the process of preventing her leaving the country.

Bibi, a Christian farm labourer, was acquitted of blasphemy on Wednesday. She had spent eight years on death row after she drank from the same cup as a Muslim, prompting false allegations that she insulted the prophet Muhammad.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) administration signed an agreement with the anti-blasphemy group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Friday night, giving in to many of its demands in the face of massive, countrywide protests calling for Bibi to be put to death. …”

– News from The Guardian.

See also: Government, TLP reach agreement, state to ‘take measures’ to place Asia on ECL: reports – DAWN News, Pakistan.

“The government and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have reached an agreement to conclude the latter’s nationwide protests, *DawnNewsTV* has reported, with the government promising to immediately initiate the legal process to place Asia Bibi’s name on the exit control list (ECL).”

A cause for much continued prayer.

Update: from BBC News

“Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry … clarified that the decision on whether or not to bar Asia Bibi from leaving the country would be made by a court, and added the government would ‘take all steps necessary’ to ensure Asia Bibi’s safety.”

‘These 7 points explain the Supreme Court’s decision to free Asia Bibi’

“The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued its much-anticipated judgement in the ‘Asia Bibi v. The State, etc’ case, reversing earlier judgments handed down by the Lahore High Court as well as a trial court and thereby overturning the conviction of Asia Bibi in the blasphemy case against her.

The three-judge bench subsequently ordered the 50-something mother-of-four’s immediate release from jail, where she had been languishing for 9-odd years.

The Supreme Court’s judgement — a seismic event in the country’s history, judicial or otherwise — heavily references Islamic teachings and tradition, but ultimately relies on an assessment of facts and evidence to support the overturning of the earlier conviction.

Below are a few of the key points shared in the judgment. …”

– This story from DAWN News, Pakistan. And a reminder to pray for Asia Bibi, her family, and the situation in Pakistan.

Photo courtesy Barnabas Fund.

Asia Bibi to be freed after conviction is set aside

“The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman condemned to death on blasphemy charges after accepting her 2015 appeal against her sentence. …”

– News from DAWN News, Pakistan.

Protests have begun across Pakistan.

See also: Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturns Aasia Bibi’s conviction – Barnabas Fund.

No Christians at all among 1,112 Syrian refugees resettled in the UK this year

“In response to a Freedom of Information request from Barnabas Fund, the UK Home Office have just released figures on Syrian refugees resettled in the UK for the first quarter of this year (1 January–31 March 2018). Appalling as previous figures were, these are much worse. …”

– From Barnabas Fund.

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