Italy Hopes to Help Pakistani Christian Facing Threats After Blasphemy Acquittal
(ROME) â" Italy said Tuesday that it is working to help relocate the family of a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted eight years after being sentenced to death for blasphemy, amid warnings from her husband that the familyâs life is in danger in Pakistan.
The Foreign Ministry said it was coordinating with other countries to ensure safety for Asia Bibi and her family. In a statement, the ministry said it was ready to act on whatever the Italian government might decide â" an indication that an offer of asylum might be in the offing.
Also Tuesday, a lawmaker in German Chancellor Angela Merkelâs conservative party called for Germany to grant Bibi refuge, after her husband Ashiq Masih appealed for help from the West to relocate the family.
Bibi was convicted in 2010 of insulting Islamâs prophet, but Pakistanâs top court acquitted her last week. Protests by hardline Islamists prompted the government to impose a travel ban on Bibi until her case is reviewed.
Bibiâs case has been closely followed in Italy for years, and Pope Francis met earlier this year with her family in a show of solidarity.
Read more: A Pakistan Court Overturned a Christian Womanâs Death Sentence for Blasphemy. Now, Protests Are Spreading Across the Country
Even Italyâs hardline, anti-migrant interior minister Matteo Salvini stressed that he would do âall that is humanly possibleâ to ensure Bibi and her family are safe, either in Italy or some other country.
Salvini distinguished between Bibi and the tens of thousands of migrants who try to seek out a better life in Italy via smugglersâ boats from Libya.
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