Monthly Archives: May 2014

Appeal postponed

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Fifth appeal postponed for Asia Bibi
Pakistan (MNN) — Imprisoned in 2010 and sentenced to death for blasphemy, Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has had her appeal postponed for the fifth time. No new date has been set for her to appeal her death sentence. Blasphemy is a serious crime in Pakistan, and anyone accused receives harsh treatment from the courts. Asia is the mother of five. Her husband and children have gone into hiding. Asia is held in solitary confinement many miles from her family. Several Pakistani leaders who have attempted to help mitigate her case have been killed, so it’s possible the judge is afraid to reverse her death penalty—hence the postponement.

This young women in her late twenties faces a different enslavement from trafficking. But she is locked into a life of hopelessness– a life of fear and loneliness. Her crime? She defended Jesus Christ, her Lord, when a group of villagers working in a fruit orchard refused her water because she was a Christian.

One can only imagine the word battle that followed as she defended her right to drink from the village well. A likely scenario– the irate women went home to their husbands angrily denouncing Asia’s religion, accusing her of blasphemy against Mohammed. The news spread, a crowd gathered and raced to the police station. Once the accusation was carried to the police, there was no turning back. Asia was found guilty of blasphemy, sentenced to hang and has languished in a dirty, bug-infested, prison, cooking her own meager meals to avoid being poisoned by guards or other inmates for almost four years. Its reported that her family– husband and five children– are moving from house to house, even to other cities, to seek safety.

Jesus came to free captives unjustly held–captives bound by every kind of evil. His mission statement in Luke 4 was based on the words of Isaiah the prophet. “The Spirit pf the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:l,2.

Many are working behind the scenes to free Asia. Those of us who can’t lobby, work through the halls of justice and power, can at least pray for her health, and peace of mind that God has not forgotten her.

A ready market in the Magreb of Africa for young girls.

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Professor Lawrance of the Rochester Institute of Technology said that if he were to visit any number of West African countries “I would have no difficulty, within a matter of hours, in finding a place to procure children.”

While the imagery of a slave market conveyed by the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, may have been aimed partly at attracting attention, Professor Lawrance said, “it is not a stretch of the truth to imagine where you could buy children, sitting and waiting to be sold.”

Child trafficking is considered such an insidious problem that the United Nations Human Rights Council has assigned special rapporteurs to investigate it for nearly 25 years. The last rapporteur, Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, a Moroccan pediatrician who specializes in the protection of vulnerable children, said in a report to the council in March that they were more at risk than ever to sexual slavery. “Millions of girls and boys worldwide are victims of sexual exploitation, even though this issue in recent years has gained increased visibility,” she said.In report she issued in December, Dr. Maalla M’jid said that in recent years, the increase of child trafficking has been greater for girls.

Rights advocates say many cases go undetected. Susan Bissell, the chief of child protection at Unicef, said Wednesday in a phone interview that there were 1.2 million known cases a year of child trafficking globally, “and that’s a gross underestimate, because of situations in this context; it’s totally clandestine.”

Rights groups have conducted numerous studies documenting the trafficking of girls and women in Africa, which is often done through deceptive means. In a 2010 report, for example, Human Rights Watch found networks in Ivory Coast and Nigeria that systematically trafficked in Nigerian women who had thought they were being recruited as apprentice hairdressers or tailors or the person who took them would hurt them.”

Ms. Bissell said part of the enforcement problem lay in many victims’ lack of official identities — 230 million children do not have birth certificates, which makes them virtually impossible to trace.
Adapted from New York Times May 8,2014

This evil seems to have no end. Can you imagine what would happen if these perpetrators had grown up in a loving home with parents who modeled honesty and respect for each other? Parents who made sure children were educated–or at least taught basic values like love, kindness, integrity, a work ethic,– and that God, who loves them, created both boys and girls as equally valuable and full of potential?