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Interfaith Dialogue (31 Jan 2020 NewAgeIslam.Com)

I Became A Prisoner of Fanaticism: Asia Bibi on Pakistan Prison, Life in Exile

France 24



Such a relief to see beautiful smile on #AsiaBibi's face, after years of depressing, torture and isolation. She is finally free & united with her family.


Recounting the hellish conditions of eight years spent on death row on blasphemy charges but also the pain of exile, Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has broken her silence to give her first personal insight into an ordeal that caused international outrage.

Bibi was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges by a Pakistani court in 2010 but then dramatically acquitted in 2018. She now lives in Canada at an undisclosed location.

French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who has co-written a book about her, was once based in the country where she led a support campaign for her.

She is the only reporter to have met Bibi during her stay in Canada.

In the book "Enfin libre!" ("Finally Free") -- published in French on Wednesday with an English version due out in September -- Bibi recounts her arrest, the conditions of prison, the relief of her release but also the difficulty of adjusting to a new life.

"You already know my story through the media," she said in the book.

"But you are far from understanding my daily life in prison or my new life," she said.

- 'Depths of darkness' -

"I became a prisoner of fanaticism," she said.

In prison, "tears were the only companions in the cell".

She described the horrendous conditions in squalid jails in Pakistan where she was kept chained and jeered at by other detainees.

"My wrists are burning me, it is hard to breathe. My neck... is encased in an iron collar that the guard can tighten with a huge nut," she wrote.

"A long chain drags along on the filthy ground. This connects my neck to the handcuffed hand who pulls me like a dog on a lead.

"Deep within me, a dull fear takes me towards the depths of darkness. A lacerating fear that will never leave me."

Many other prisoners showed her no pity. "I am startled by the cry of a woman. 'To death!' The other women join in. 'Hanged!' Hanged!'."

- 'At what price?' -

Blasphemy is an incendiary charge in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even the whiff of an unsubstantiated allegation of insulting Islam can spark death at the hands of mobs.

Her acquittal on the charges, which stemmed from an incident in 2009 when she argued with a Muslim co-labourer, resulted in violent protests that paralysed the country led by firebrand cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

Bibi, who vehemently denied the charges against her, argued in the book that the Christian minority in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan still faces persecution.

"Even with my freedom, the climate (for Christians) does not seemed to have changed and Christians can expect all kinds of reprisals," she said.

"They live with this sword of Damocles over their head."

And while Canada gives her a safer and more certain future, Bibi also has to come to terms with likely never setting foot in her homeland again.

"In this unknown country, I am ready for a new departure, perhaps for a new life. But at what price?

"My heart broke when I had to leave without saying goodbye to my father or other members of the family."

"Pakistan is my country. I love my country but I am in exile forever," she said.

Original Headline:  'Finally free!': Asia Bibi on Pakistan prison, life in exile

Source: The France 24

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/france-24/i-became-a-prisoner-of-fanaticism--asia-bibi-on-pakistan-prison,-life-in-exile/d/120941


  • I was born and raised in the UK which has a long and proud history of granting asylum to people fleeing persecution, but now it seems the eligibility for asylum in the UK is determined by the Muslim community!
     It was reported (link below, bottom) that the UK would not be offering asylum to Asia Bibi because the UK government is concerned about "unrest among certain sections of the community".
    I wonder what 'community' the government is concerned about? The Irish community? The Chinese community? The gay community? The black community? The Hindu community? The Jewish community? The Christian community? The atheist community? Could it be the Muslim community? It surely could not be the Muslim community, because, as politicians keep telling us, Islam is a religion of peace. So, what ‘community’ were they concerned about?
    Of course, we all really know that it is the Muslim community that the government is concerned about, but they can't and dare not say so lest it be accused of 'Islamophobia'. But there's really no such thing as 'Islamophobia' and it is time to debunk this phoney word. It is a control word used by the Left and by Muslims to try and silence and shout down any criticism of Islam by inferring that there is something wrong with you.
    A phobia is an irrational fear or hatred. Women, Jews, gays and non-believers have good reason to fear Islam. It's an intolerant, divisive, violent, supremacist, hateful and misogynistic ideology with a track record of intolerance and actual violence, and threats of violence to anyone who dares to challenge or criticise it. Islam has a history of violent and bloody conquest. It does not integrate, it wants to dominate and subjugate which it does in every country wherever it is allowed to gain a majority.
    It really is time for the UK government to be honest with the public and admit that there is a problem with Islam, and that they are concerned that if asylum was given to Asia, Muslims will riot. And concerned that one of them will take it upon himself to murder her.
    The UK is now in a situation where it was unable to provide a home for someone fleeing from primitive blasphemy laws. For the first time in ages we had a real refugee, not a bogus refugee (way too many of which have been allowed into and to settle in the UK), but a real and genuine refugee, and we were unable to help her. The UK government let back in hundreds of dangerous Jihadists who went to fight for ISIS, but is now having to turn away a vulnerable refugee. What sort of message is that sending to the rest of the world?
    The root cause of most of the problems in the world today is Islam, and if it is allowed to continue to grow and to spread in the UK I can see a time when people will be fleeing for their lives from the UK to seek asylum in other countries.
    Has the UK state has been subjugated by Islam? It would appear to me that it has. Unfortunately, the more you pander to Islam, the more you embolden it. It's a dangerous and deceitful ideology and it really needs, like our ancestors did with Christianity, to be faced-down and put back in the box. If you have a religion it should be a private matter and you should keep it to yourself and not flaunt it in public. The UK has freedom of religion and also, more importantly, freedom FROM religion, though this freedom from religion, specifically from Islam, is slowly disappearing.
    You can deface or burn a copy of the bible in the UK and nothing will happen to you. Deface or burn a copy of the koran in the UK and you will be arrested, not for blasphemy as that law no longer exists, instead you will be arrested for 'hate speech' which is used as a de facto blasphemy law. The UK, which was until very recently, an open, tolerant and liberal country with a proud tradition of democracy and free speech, is being slowly choked to death by Islam, an intolerant ideology that does not believe in democracy or free speech.
    What on earth has happened to the country that I was born and raised in, the country for which my grandfather fought for in WW1 and my father fought for in WW2? Both are long gone, but I fear they would be turning in their graves at what has been allowed to happen to the UK.
     *Huffington Post, November 9th 2018;
    By PETER ATKINSON - 2/1/2020 11:04:08 PM

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