Asia Bibi may be executed because she criticised Islam. If a resolution now before the UN is successful, many more will suffer her fate. LAST year Asia Bibi, a mother of five, was told to bring water to fellow workers in a field in rural Pakistan. They declined to drink, saying that as a Christian she had contaminated it. They pressured her to convert to Islam and, goaded, she said she did not believe Muhammad was a true prophet. For that remark she has been sentenced to death.Without even seeking her account, a Pakistani court has condemned her to hang under the country’s notorious blasphemy law. Thanks to international pressure, including a plea from the Pope, she may receive a presidential pardon, but Islamist groups have promised to kill her anyway. This is no idle threat. Last month Latif Masih was shot dead after being bailed on another blasphemy charge, that he “desecrated a Koran”. His accuser then admitted he had invented the tale because he wanted to take over the 22-year-old Christian’s shop in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Meanwhile, an Iranian court has sentenced to death a Muslim man who converted to Christianity, and an Afghan amputee has pleaded for help after being tortured in jail over his conversion. In the Maldives last month, parents tried to lynch a Christian teacher for drawing a cross on a blackboard (she was demonstrating the points of the compass).