A score of men who have completed their work in the field or in the construction business are going to listen to their imam. Although they acknowledge that Bibi and his family were quiet people who never had problems, that doens’t change their minds: the penal code says that anyone who blasphemes against the prophet should be hanged. At Wali Ittan, that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari, has yielded to international pressure (the pope included) and has said it would forgive Bibi, is of little value. “If she is not hanged as the law states, we will kill her,” it’s heard in the group of men. One of them, wearing the traditional salwar kameez, steps forward and says proudly: “I’m ready to kill her.” Abdul Shakoor, 26, is followed by several of his neighbors who share his idea. “I would too,” says Zuqar Nain, 20, with a smile.
The imam of the village, Mohammad Salam, has little time to answer questions before giving his sermon at the austere mosque. It was this long-bearded, 31-year-old man, the one who accused Bibi of blasphemy to the police, in June 2009. He tells us that a group of 25 laborers were on lunch break and that Muslim women would not drink the same glass as used Asia Bibi, the only Christian. She became angry and the argument became so heated that the woman blasphemed Muhammad, said the imam.
What was wrong? “I could never repeat it,” the imam replied angrily. He ensures that it doesn’t matter Asia Bibi is a woman. “She must be punished.” Salam, who learned of the quarrel by a young woman who witnessed it ensures that he conducted his own investigations.Five days after, he denounced her at the police station where, according to Christian sources, Bibi was pressured to convert to Islam. Her alleged offense, they argue, was to say that Jesus Christ is as sacred as the prophet.
(Translated by T&P).
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