Asia Bibi will be a name familiar to many Christians who followed the news stories of this Pakistani woman who was sentenced to death for blasphemy and insulting the Prophet Mohammed. This book was written with French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who took up Bibi’s cause and publicised her case worldwide.
Free at Last tells of her experience, from the accusation by a Muslim co-worker to being freed to live in Canada ten years later. It describes in detail the initial trial, the delays in waiting for an appeal trial (which confirmed the death sentence), and a final appeal to the Supreme Court. Bibi protests her innocence throughout.
She relates the ordeals she endured at the hands of Muslims: beatings from guards, solitary confinement, the hatred and abuse of fellow prisoners, and the threats made to those who supported her.
This book should encourage us to pray for all those who are persecuted for their faith, and especially for Christians who are being persecuted in many countries for their faithfulness to the Lord.
However, readers who hope to be uplifted by a testimony to God’s sustaining grace in times of trial will be disappointed. A Roman Catholic, Bibi has little to say on this. She prays to God and hopes he will hear her prayers. But generally she finds comfort in reciting a prayer given to her by Pope Francis, the international pressure for her release, and the prospect of being reunited with her family. ‘To stay strong, I would think of Ashiq and the children, but it was hard’ (p.110).
A book worth reading, but more educational than edifying.