After a decade of prayer, diplomacy and legal wrangling, a persecuted Christian farmhand and her family is about to start a new life in Canada.

Published in Canada

This story has been modified to clarify the perspective of the Canadian bishop quoted below.

Published in Canada
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan's Supreme Court upheld its acquittal of a Pakistani Catholic woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy.
Published in International
MANCHESTER, England – The acquittal of a Pakistani Catholic woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy is to be challenged in the country's Supreme Court, according to her husband.
Published in International
SYDNEY – Asia Bibi has been released from death row and prison in Pakistan and is now under heavy protective guard in a secret location with her family, reported a longtime Catholic missionary involved with negotiations in Pakistan about her case.
Published in International

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan's Supreme Court has set aside the death sentence of Asia Bibi, a Catholic convicted of blasphemy, and ordered her release from prison.

Published in International
CHESTER, England – A court in Pakistan has reached a decision on whether a Catholic woman will become the first person to hang to death under the country's controversial blasphemy laws.
Published in International
VATICAN – During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis discussed the incomprehension Christ faced during his earthly ministry, from both the scribes and his own family.
Published in Faith

Pope Francis said on Thursday that corruption is a form of blasphemy which leads to the worship of money and the exploitation of others. His words came during the homily at his regular Santa Marta Mass for this last week of the Church’s liturgical year.

Published in Reflections

OTTAWA - It’s been five years since the assassination of Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, but his religious freedom legacy lives on in Canada and around the world. 

Published in Canada

LAHORE, Pakistan - A Pakistani court has directed the Punjab provincial government and police to give the father of death row convict Asia Bibi prison visitation rights, a family lawyer said.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican’s semi-official newspaper blasted a series of cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as “blasphemous” but also condemned the “mad and bloodthirsty” extremists who opened fire at a Texas exhibit of the cartoons.

Published in Vatican

DUBLIN - The Irish government will not hold a national referendum to remove the offense of blasphemy from the country's constitution.

Published in International

THRISSUR, India - The Catholic Church in Pakistan has presented a series of demands to the government, calling for a fair and thorough investigation into the beatings and burning of a young Christian couple accused of desecrating the Quran.

Published in International

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNS) -- The Islamabad High Court ordered police to dismiss blasphemy charges against a Christian Pakistani girl whose arrest and detention drew international condemnation.

The ruling from Chief Justice Iqbal Hammeed ur Rehman Nov. 19 said there was no evidence that Rimsha Masih burned papers from the Quran, reported Pakistan's Dawn news agency.

"The court has quashed the case, declaring Rimsha innocent," Akmal Bhatti, the girl's attorney, told Agence France-Presse.
Rimsha was taken into police custody Aug. 18 after a resident of the area in which the girl and her family lived accused her of burning pages of the Islamic holy book. She was released on bail Sept. 8.

Two weeks after Rimsha was picked up, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, the imam or prayer leader who accused her of burning pages of the Quran, was taken into police custody. According to a police official quoted by the Associated Press, witnesses claim the imam tore pages from a Quran and planted them along with burned pieces of paper in the girl's bag.

He faces charges of planting evidence and desecrating the Quran used against the girl. The courts have yet to rule in the case.
Rimsha's parents said she is 11 years old and has Down syndrome; a court-appointed physician reported she was about 14 and is developmentally delayed.

Paul Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan's federal cabinet, confirmed the high court had dismissed the case.

"I welcome this order. Justice has been done and the law of the land has been upheld by the court," he told Agence France-Presse.

"It will send out a positive image of Pakistan in the international community that there is justice for all and that society has risen up for justice and intolerance," he said.

Out of fear for their safety, Rimsha and her family moved to an undisclosed location after the girl's release.

Published in International
Page 1 of 2