Asia Bibi says years on death row made her 'strong in faith'

Asia Bibi(Photo: Aid to the Church in Need)

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian mother who spent more than eight years on death row for blasphemy, says her experience made her grow "strong in faith".

Speaking through a translator on the last day of the Religious Freedom Summit in Washington DC last week, she told the story of a bird that would come to visit her each morning outside her prison cell - even after she moved prisons - and how she took this as a sign from God that he was with her in her ordeal.

Bibi was accused of blasphemy in 2009 after an argument with the women she worked with. She was sentenced to death the following year and only acquitted by Pakistan's Supreme Court in October 2018.

She now lives in Canada with her family after being forced to flee Pakistan due to death threats.

Recalling her years behind bars, she said she was "totally broken" after her imprisonment but was able to find hope despite her terrible circumstances after making it a daily habit to feed the birds outside her cell with some leftover food and water.

"I was sharing my faith even with those birds also, and that has led me to be more strong in faith," she said.

Words of encouragement from her father also helped her to stay strong.

She recalled him telling her, "Don't worry about your life, if you are going to be killed, but never compromise on your faith and be strong."

When she was finally released, she knew it was a "miracle" that would not have been possible "without God's intervention."

Now her message to other Christians in Pakistan is to "grow in their faith" and "stay strong in their faith," and her call to other believers is to "join hands and stand together so we can be a voice for our Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering and help them out of their situations like the Lord has done for me."