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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Amanda Casanova

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

The son of a Pakistani governor who was killed for his support of Christian Asia Bibi says he too supports the mother who was wrongly charged with blasphemy.

“Eight years later, the woman that my father gave his life to defend has been found innocent by the highest court in the country,” said Shaan Taseer, according to Faithwire. ”For this ladies and gentlemen, I want to congratulate each and every one of you. Asia Bibi’s acquittal is a victory for humanity, it’s a victory for human dignity and it is a victory for common sense.”

Taseer’s father, governor Salmaan Taseer, was shot and killed in 2011 by one of his bodyguards after he said he supported Bibi.

“My father as the governor at the time said, ‘No, not on my watch. I will not let this injustice take place for this woman, not when I am governor,’” Taseer said, adding that his father “threw his weight behind Asia Bibi” and “met with her in prison.”

Bibi was charged with blasphemy in a Pakistani court and sentenced to death. In late 2018 she was acquitted, but she was not allowed to leave the country until May 2019.

“As we celebrate these victories, we must be mindful of the challenges ahead,” he said. “While Asia Bibi — the world’s most famous prisoner victim of blasphemy is a free woman — I want you all to know that there are 200 Asia Bibis in jail accused of blasphemy law in Pakistan today and these are only the reported cases.”

Taseer was speaking at the state department’s second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

According to Aid to the Church in Need, between the years 1990 and 2017 more than 20 Christians have been killed in Pakistan after being accused of blasphemy.

Photo courtesy: U.S. State Department/Public Domain

Related: 

'She Is Free Now': Asia Bibi Makes it to Canada, Is Finally Reunited with Her Family

U.S. State Department Hosts 'Largest Religious Freedom Event Ever Done in the World'

Athens, Greece was hit by a strong magnitude 5.3 earthquake Friday afternoon.

According to ABC News, the Mediterranean Island’s capital city experienced the earthquake around 2 p.m. local time.

The Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center reports that the quake hit about 14 miles north of Athens and lasted for only a few seconds. 

Nonetheless, the quake caused people in the streets to run out of fear, left several areas in the city without power and knocked out phone lines across the city. Reportedly the local fire department was also called to help people trapped in elevators. 

According to the Associated Press, following the quake, authorities surveyed areas near the epicenter via helicopter for damages. Government Spokesperson Stelios Petsas shared that several abandoned buildings had been damaged as a result of the quake, one abandoned building in the western district even appears to have collapsed from the shake. No deaths or serious injuries have been immediately reported, however.

“There are no reports of serious injuries ... I urge members of the public to remain calm, in Greece we are well acquainted with earthquakes,” Petsas said in a statement.

Senior seismologist at the Geodynamics Institute Gerasimos Papadopoulos noted that the Friday afternoon quake was felt across southern Greece. He also shared that this may not have been the “main earthquake.”

According to the AP, Papadopoulos said in a statement, “It had a very shallow depth and that’s why it was felt so strongly.”

He continued, “It is too early to say whether this was the main earthquake, but there have been aftershocks of magnitude 3.5, 2.5 and 3.2 and that is encouraging. But we need more time and data to have a clear picture.”

Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Greece. In 1999, Greece was hit with a powerful 6.0 magnitude earthquake, which killed some 140 people. The earthquake in 1999 is the strongest quake the island has experienced in the last 20 years.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Steve Collender, this is a stock photo.

(RNS) — A popular Christian bookseller is changing its name after a deluge of requests for cannabis-related products.

For years, Peabody, Massachusetts-based Christian Book Distributors has been known by the initials CBD.

The bookseller announced last month it will now go by “Christianbook” to avoid confusion with cannabidiol, an increasingly popular cannabis-derived product that shares its initials.

“The problem is the other CBD is just so popular at this point in time that it just kind of overwhelms our brand,” Christianbook President and CEO Ray Hendrickson told The New York Times.

The “other CBD” does not get users high. But it has exploded in popularity over the past year, appearing in everything from oils and lotions to beers and lollipops and claiming to relieve anxiety and pain, among other things.

Drugstores Walgreens and CVS have said they will carry CBD products in some states. Even some Christians are exploring its use: A website called God’s Greenery publishes posts about CBD, how Christians can view it morally and what Scripture might have to say about it.

Meantime, Christianbook has sold books and other Christian resources for four decades.

What started as two teenage brothers selling Christian books from a catalog out of their parents’ house eventually grew to the world’s largest seller of Christian products, according to a statement from the bookseller.

The company also sells books on its website, CBD.com.

“In the past, a Google search for ‘CBD’ would place our company at the top of the results page,” the company said in a statement.

“Now ‘our CBD’ is nowhere to be found in the search results, only sites for the cannabis product are listed, and paid ads are no longer allowed. As this wave of popularity over the ‘other CBD’ is not likely to subside, we will stop referring to ourselves as ‘CBD’ and will also drop the word ‘Distributors’ from our company name. Going forward, we will operate under the name of ‘Christianbook.’”

Though the name has changed, Hendrickson said in the statement that nothing else about Christianbook’s business has.

Customers still can buy the same Christian products they always have from its catalogs and website. And they still can use the domain name CBD.com.

“It’s not for sale,” Hendrickson told The Boston Globe. 

READ THIS STORY AT RELIGIONNEWS.COM

Photo courtesy: RNS/Christianbook

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