According to various news outlets, “Friends” of Asia Noreen, also known as Asia Bibi, say that she is coming to Canada.
Asia Noreen, a mother of five, was arrested in 2009, under section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, Pakistan’s blasphemy law.
While harvesting berries, some women asked Noreen to get some water for them. When Noreen took some of the water from the container and drank it, they became angry. They consider her unclean because she is a Christian. They insulted her religion and insisted that she convert to Islam.
“I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind,” she responded, “what did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind, and why should it be me that converts instead of you?”
Shortly after, a mob accosted and beat Noreen and her family at their home before the police arrested her.
She was in jail for a year before being charged.
Muhammed Naveed Iqbal, a judge at the court of Sheikhupura, Punjab, fined and sentenced Noreen to death in November of 2010.
Her family has gone into hiding, after being threatened.
Her husband appealed her case but the Lahore High Courts upheld her conviction. There was a world wide outcry. Organisations petitioned for her release collecting over 400,000 signatures. Pope Benedict XVI pleaded for clemency.
Minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, and and Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, were assassinated for advocating for her and opposing the blasphemy laws.
There was a bounty offered to anyone who would kill her.
On October 31, 2018 a Judge acquitted Noreen because of inconsistencies in witness testimony.
In November 2018 she was released from prison but she is not safe.
The Tehreek-e-Labbaik political party protested, demanding that she not be allowed to leave Pakistan. They called for the assassination of three of the justices that overturned her conviction, blocked traffic, and damaged infrastructure. The Government of Pakistan agreed with the party to end protests.
Noreen’s husband, Ashiq Masih, appealed to Britain, Canada, Italy, and the USA for asylum.
There are conflicting reports on her whereabouts. Some claim she is in Canada. Others say she is still in hiding in Pakistan.
Brittany Fletcher, Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman said “Canada is prepared to do everything we can to ensure the safety of Asia Bibi.”
France and Spain have offered asylum to Noreen and her family.
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