A court in Pakistan has sentenced a Christian woman to death by hanging for blasphemy against Islam.
Release International, a group that helps persecuted Christians, reports that Asia Bibi was working with Muslim women who were pressuring her to renounce her faith.
Bibi responded by telling the women Jesus died on the cross for all of mankind. She then asked them what Mohammed had done for them. Local Muslim leaders demanded she be charged with blasphemy for the statement.
The thirty-something mother of two has insisted she is innocent and has vowed to appeal the ruling.
Meanwhile, Andy Dipper, Release International's chief executive officer, was stunned by the court's decision.
"Pakistan has crossed a line in passing the death sentence on a woman for blasphemy," he said. "In effect Asia has been sentenced to death for sharing her Christian faith," he said.
"In previous cases, the death sentence has not been carried out. But this could well mean a life sentence for Asia in appalling conditions on death row," Dipper added.
Pakistan, a democratic nation of over 170 million people, routinely targets Christians for the crime of blasphemy.
In October, Release called for a day of prayer for the country's persecuted Christian minority.
"The blasphemy law fosters injustice and vigilantism,' Dipper said. 'It must be repealed. So pray for Pakistan."