Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has appealed to the United States President Donald Trump to grant asylum to Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, whose life is being threatened because of her Christian faith.
Asia Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after an argument with her Muslim co-workers who refused to drink from the same water bowl with her. They claimed it was contaminated because she’s a Christian.
They were harvesting fruit when a row broke out about a bucket of water. The women said that because she had used a cup, they could no longer touch it, as her faith had made it unclean.
When Bibi defended her faith, the workers accused her of insulting the Islamic prophet Mohmmed. She was soon arrested on blasphemy charges.
Bibi was put in jail and sentenced to death. The 53-year-old sat in jail awaiting her death sentence up until she was acquitted last month in a landmark Supreme Court case for the predominantly Muslim nation.
Though Bibi’s released was seen as a positive landmark decision for many worldwide, the decision did not sit well with thousands of Islamic radicals in Pakistan. Islamic radicals quickly took to the streets in protest of the Supreme Court ruling and to demand the execution of Bibi and the Supreme Court judges who acquitted her.
Republican Senator Rand Paul told CNN that he is concerned for her safety and fears that if her acquittal is overturned that she would not survive.
In the interview he said, “I’ve been fighting them to free Asia Bibi. I’ve talked to the president about granting her asylum and refugee status here.”
He continued, “I’m interested in talking to religious leaders in our country who will raise money to support her and her family to come over here.”
“I’m worried that she is going to be killed,” he added.
Later the senator took to Twitter to echo his point saying, “I spoke with @realDonaldTrump about offering asylum to Asia Bibi. Pakistan must ensure her safety until she is able to depart in the near future. This Christian woman has been persecuted enough!”
I spoke with @realDonaldTrump about offering asylum to Asia Bibi. Pakistan must ensure her safety until she is able to depart in the near future. This Christian woman has been persecuted enough! https://t.co/vMr2L0KWiz
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) November 16, 2018
The Senator also noted that he had spoken with the United States Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell. He wrote on Twitter: “Just spoke to @RichardGrenell about helping Asia Bibi in Pakistan. We are committed to working together to give her asylum in the United States. Thank you Ric for all you’re doing to assist her! Let’s make it happen.”
Just spoke to @RichardGrenell about helping Asia Bibi in Pakistan. We are committed to working together to give her asylum in the United States. Thank you Ric for all you’re doing to assist her! Let’s make it happen.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) November 15, 2018
Bibi is currently being held in an undisclosed location in Pakistan Islamabad that is being protected by armed guards.
Reports have surfaced, however, saying that the Pakistani government made a deal with leading Islamic clerics from the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party – the party petitioning for Bibi’s death – and are working to have Bibi’s name placed on the Exit Control List, a move that would prevent her from leaving the country.
If the review overturns the Supreme Court’s ruling, Bibi could find herself back on death row.