Though politics have been dominating the news with midterm elections being next week, the Asia Bibi case is news that needs to be talked about. Aasiya Noreen, better known as Asia Bibi, was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court and has spent the past eight years on death row. On Wednesday, Oct. 31, she was finally acquitted of her charges.
Asia Bibi is a Christian farm laborer who drank from the same cup as a Muslim, which then led to allegations that she insulted the Prophet Muhammad. Now, there are happening against the Pakistani government for their decision to acquit Asia Bibi. The state is currently in a battle with supporters of the Tehreek-e Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a growing political party whose goal is to punish blasphemers.
When reading news like this, it makes me take a step back and think about how lucky I am to live in the United States. When our founders wrote the Constitution, they were careful to separate church and state so we were guaranteed religious freedom.
Look at Asia Bibi.
This woman has spent eight years in prison because she drank water before giving it to the other Muslims. She spent all that time behind bars – and was almost killed multiple times – because she supposedly disrespected the Prophet.
I know looking now at some of the people in government that it is hard for certain groups of people to feel like this is a country built on freedom. Yes, much of the U.S. is still divided by discrimination and prejudice, but we are ensured the right to practice any religion we choose.
I can’t wrap my head around being imprisoned because I disrespected God. I am surrounded by people with different religious views from my own, and I respect them. The U.S. was created choosing to respect these differences.
We have states in the United States where a religion predominantly resides, such as Mormonism in Utah, but no one living in Utah is required to practice Mormonism. See the difference?
To make matters worse, there were riots when she was released. People were so outraged that this falsely accused woman wasn’t hanged for her “crime,” so they decided to riot. These protests , as she had originally planned to, and the TLP especially continues to try to publicly hang her.
It deeply disturbs me that Bibi’s life is on the line because of her religious values. I can’t even imagine living in a country where I don’t have the right to speak my mind or practice what I believe. Our First Amendment rights are so valuable. It is why we as Americans are able to protest, pray and preach what we believe without fearing for our lives.
I am proud to be an American, even when I don’t agree with the way the government operates. I get to live and practice as I choose without being shamed for it and that is something we should all be more appreciative of.