DC: A Christian Pakistani woman has been acquitted of allegedly insulting Mohammed in 2009, freeing her from a potential death sentence which has hung over her for almost a decade.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled Wednesday that Asia Bibi, also known as Aasiya Noreen, is “free to go” after having spent much of her last nine years in solitary confinement.
Bibi was born and raised in Ittan Wali, a small rural village outside of Lahore, Pakistan, near the Indian border. Christians make up less than two percent of the population in Pakistan, where they are often considered inferior by the Muslim majority and given menial jobs. In Bibi’s village, hers was the only Christian family, where she claimed to have been pressured relentlessly by her neighbors to convert to Islam.
On a sweltering June day in 2009, Bibi was picking berries with some of the other women from her village when they asked her to bring them some water. After returning from the well, Bibi claimed, some of the Muslim women refused to drink after her: Her religion had rendered the utensils “unclean.” The incident reportedly led to an argument between the women, during which Bibi was alleged to have insulted the prophet of Islam.
Within days, Bibi was attacked by a mob of incensed Muslims, who beat her brutally and ensured her arrest under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws. Over a year later, in November 2010, she was formally charged with insulting Mohammed, and sentenced to be hanged. read more