Asia Bibi begins new life in Canada – but her ordeal may not be over

“Asia Bibi has arrived in Canada hoping to start a new life after her years on death row. But although there is huge relief among campaigners for religious freedom that she is out of Pakistan, her ordeal may not be over.

Islamic extremists have pledged to pursue the Christian woman and kill her for the act of blasphemy of which she was accused and later acquitted. …”

– Story from The Guardian.

A Statement from Archbishop Ben Kwashi, following the Easter Sunday atrocities in Sri Lanka

Greetings to you in Peace.

Yesterday suicide bombers unleashed death and destruction as unsuspecting Sri Lankan Christians gathered to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Together with those killed in hotels, the death toll has reached 310, with many more injured, and our hearts go out in prayer for all who have been caught up in these deeply traumatic events.

News of this atrocity came through just before I preached at All Souls Langham Place and let me repeat what I said then,

‘The resurrection of Jesus is a total defeat of death and of those who would want to use death to scare people off from faith in Jesus. His resurrection has made death powerless against all who believe in Jesus Christ.’

At our recent conference in Dubai, Gafcon resolved to stand with the Suffering Church and this will be a leading agenda item for our Primates Council as it meets in Sydney next week.

Meanwhile, in this Easter week let us remember that the one who drew alongside two sad and discouraged disciples on the Emmaus road was the Risen Christ who yet still bore the wounds of the cross. By death he has destroyed death and he will be with us until the very end in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Risen Lord be with you!

Archbishop Ben Kwashi,
Gafcon General Secretary.”

– from GAFCON, 22 April 2019.

Statement on Sri Lanka attacks

Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Media Release

Archbishop Glenn Davies issued the following statement on Twitter after learning of the attacks on Sri Lankan churches, Easter Day 2019.

Our hearts cry out for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. This senseless slaughter is a tragedy of vast proportion, especially as it was carried out on Easter Day, mocking the day of hope and salvation for so many. May God comfort survivors and those who have lost loved ones.

– Source: SydneyAnglicans.net.

Gafcon Networks mobilise after Cyclone hits Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe

“Following the massive destruction brought to Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe by Cyclone Idai, Rev Dennis Tongoi who leads the Gafcon Sustainable Development Network put Gafcon leaders in touch with one another and contact was made with Mozambican Bishop Vicente Msosa, who was present at Gafcon 2018 in Jerusalem.

Mozambique is one of the areas hardest hit and Bishop Vicente shared with us the traumatic impact of this disaster on his Diocese of Niassa. …”

– GAFCON’s Membership Development Secretary, Canon Charles Raven, shares about the disaster unfolding in Africa.

See also:

Anglican Aid in Sydney has set up an emergency appeal. (Donation link at the bottom of that page. Photo via Anglican Aid.)

“Anglican Aid is providing much-needed assistance to Zimbabwe through FOCUS Zimbabwe and Honeyworld and to affected parts of Mozambique through local bishops known to us through GAFCON.”

Islands and inland seas as Southern Africa hit by flooding – SydneyAnglicans.net

“An entire community was submerged when people woke up on Saturday morning. Many have been left homeless and numerous others have either been confirmed dead or are still missing” said the urgent call to Anglican Aid from Tawanda Masango, newly returned to Zimbabwe from Sydney.

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.

Next Page →