associate sponsors

Llyod
HDFC

Rome's Colosseum turns red to protest against Pakistan's blasphemy law, death sentence for Asia Bibi

Rome: Rome’s ancient Colosseum was lit in red on Saturday in solidarity with persecuted Christians, particularly Asia Bibi, a woman condemned to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

The Colosseum was lit up red to draw attention to the persecution of Christians around the world in Rome, Italy. Reuters

The Colosseum was lit up red to draw attention to the persecution of Christians around the world in Rome, Italy. Reuters

Hundreds gathered on a rainy night outside the Roman amphitheatre that is a symbol of the martyrdom of early Christians to hear the husband and daughter of Asia Bibi.

The Catholic woman has been living on death row in Pakistan since 2010 when she was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International say the blasphemy law is increasingly exploited by religious extremists as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle personal scores.

“The aim of the blasphemy laws is to crush people who believe differently,” Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary-general of the Italian bishops conference, told the gathering.

The law does not define blasphemy and evidence might not be reproduced in court for fear of committing a fresh offence. There are no penalties for false accusations.

Asia Bibi’s case drew international attention after the murder of two politicians who tried to intervene on her behalf.

At the Rome gathering, her husband Ashiq Masih said his wife was innocent of blasphemy. “This is just hate against Christians, who are considered impure,” he said.

The husband and daughter, who broke down in tears as she addressed the group, were earlier received by Pope Francis, who told her: “I think often of your mother and I pray for her”.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who has been tipped as a possible Italian prime minister after next week’s election, said that persecution of Christians was “a genocide”.

“A message must be sent from this place. It is the duty of Europe to defend these values (of religious liberty) wherever on earth they are trampled on,” Tajani said.

Rebecca Bitrus, a Nigerian Christian woman who was held for two years after she was abducted by Boko Haram Islamist militants, told of how she was repeatedly beaten and raped.

During the event, organised by the Catholic group “Aid to the Church in Need,” there were live link-ups with Aleppo, Syria and Mosul, Iraq, both of whose minority Christian populations have been hit hard by wars.


Updated Date: Feb 25, 2018 16:51 PM

Also Watch

Watch: The true stories from Dharavi that inspired Rajinikanth's Kaala
  • Thursday, March 8, 2018 Watch: Cyrus Khan talks about Parkour, jumping across walls and why he hates sitting
  • Thursday, May 31, 2018 Unwind: India's basketball sensation Amjyot Singh has his eyes set on becoming an NBA regular
  • Monday, May 28, 2018 First Day First Showsha — Review of Solo: A Star Wars Story in 10 questions
  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 Social Media Star: Rajkummar Rao and Bhuvan Bam open up about selfie culture, online trolls

Also See



{if $hideJSforEU != 'yes'} {/if}