Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi, has been nominated for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
She was sentenced to death seven years ago under the country’s blasphemy law.
She was accused of blasphemy after arguing with a Muslim woman who told her she could not drink from the same cup as her because she was an ‘unclean’ Christian.
When Bibi defended her faith she was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
The prize is awarded to those who make exceptional contributions to the fight for human rights, or those who bring attention to human rights violations.
Bibi has been on death row since 2010 and her appeal date at Pakistan’s Supreme Court has been adjourned to a date yet to be set.
Peter Van Dalen, a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament, nominated Bibi for the prize.
She is among six people nominated for the award and the winner will be announced on October 26.
“The influence of a given religion in a nation ought never to mean that citizens of another religion can be subject to discrimination in social life or, even worse, that violence against them can be tolerated.”...
- Pope Emeritus Benedict
“There is a very clear sense that people are nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a tool of politics or “…a mob thing […] ” he added, flanked by two Pakistani bishops. He earlier told reporters: “Equality under the law is important…”...
- Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
“The law for punishing blasphemy against the Prophet (sws) that is invoked in Pakistan has no foundation in the Qur'ān or Hadith.”...
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Renowned Quranic scholar & Islamic modernist theologist
“The problem is not so much the idea of a law against blasphemy, as about a law whose penalty is so severe and whose practice gives so much scope for allowing people to settle private scores.” ...
- Dr Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury