Thursday, November 18, 2010


Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday made an appeal for a Pakistani Christian mother of five who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after she collected water from a well to be drunk by Muslims. ‘I today express my spiritual closeness to Ms Asia Bibi and her family while asking that, as soon as possible, she may be restored to complete freedom,’ said the pontiff at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican. ‘Over these days, the international community is, with great concern, following the situation of Christians in Pakistan, who are often victims of violence or discrimination,’ said Benedict. Forty-five-year-old Asia Bibi is believed to be the first woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law. Bibi was charged with insulting Prophet Mohammed, after she was sent by the wife of a village chief in her village in eastern Punjab province to fetch water. It is said that Muslim clerics reported her to police after villagers claimed it was sacrilegious to drink water collected by a non-Muslim.

Following a year-long trial, Bibi was sentenced to death Monday by a court in Nankana. ‘I also pray for people who find themselves in similar situations, that their human dignity and fundamental rights may be fully respected,’ the pope stated. Muslim and Christian women’s associations and rights groups in Pakistan have held protest marches in Lahore and other cities against Bibi’s death sentence and non-governmental organisations have ratcheted up their campaign to repeal the blasphemy law.
The Asiya case raises the fundamental question of how Pakistan’s minorities have been left unprotected since the passage of the blasphemy law.

Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of five, was convicted of blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad and sentenced to death by hanging. She is being persecuted for defending her faith to Muslim co-workers who claimed that Christianity was a “false religion”. She was jailed days later, brought to trial and convicted for blasphemy, a crime punishable by death in Pakistan, which is a self-professed Islamic Republic where the rights of religious minorities are sharply restricted. The philosophy of Hinduism says loudly and clearly that there is a God, and the Sanantan Dharma teaches that in whatever way or whatever spirit one approaches the Supreme, the Supreme reveals Himself to that person in a corresponding way.

All creatures in this world have lost their way and wandered so far from their father’s home they have completely forgotten who He is. Thus they take birth after birth in this world, and each time they take someone else to be their father. They take different bodies as a result of the company they keep and the activities they engage in during the previous lifetime. Similarly, in each lifetime, they come into contact with practitioners of different religions and develop faith in them. ... Even within the Sanatan Dharma of Hindu religion, there are many different sectarian groupings - Shaktas, Smartas, Shaivas or Vaishnavas. According to the Vaishnava scriptures, those who follow this particular path are able to achieve the abode of their eternal father by the easy means of chanting His Holy Names. … All differences of opinion on spiritual matters are the result of ego. Ego arises out of ignorance.

Śrīla Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Mahārāja :
“Sanatan Hindu Dharma - The Way to Harmony”

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