November 11th, 2010
10:58 AM ET
CNN's Reza Sayah and journalist Nasir Habib filed this report:
A Christian woman has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, two police officials told CNN Thursday.
Asia Bibi was convicted of insulting Islam's prophet, Mohammed, while working in a field with several Muslim women in a village southwest of Lahore.
She told them the Quran was "fake" and made comments about one of Mohammed's wives and about his health in his final days, the police complaint against her said.
She said that "the Quran is fake and your prophet remained in bed for one month before his death because he had worms in his ears and mouth. He married Khadija just for money and after looting her kicked her out of the house," local police official Muhammad Ilyas told CNN.
The initial complaint against Bibi was filed on June 14, 2009, by a Muslim cleric, Ilyas said.
Police say the Muslim women reported the incident to Qari Muhammad Salim, who later filed the police report. The cleric claims Bibi confessed to him and apologized.
Muhammad Iqbal, a senior police official in the district of Nankana Sahib, said she also was fined the equivalent of $1,100.
Police say Bibi was charged with breaking section 295-C of Pakistan's penal code, which says: "Whoever ... defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine."
Former Pakistani Supreme Court Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid told CNN he doesn't recall a death sentence ever being carried against someone convicted of breaking Pakistan's anti-blasphemy laws.
Death sentences in these cases are almost always overturned by higher courts on appeal, he said.
Death sentences are carried out by hanging in Pakistan.
CNN has not yet been able to contact Bibi or her family directly. It is not clear when the sentence was handed down.
Pakistan is more than 96 percent Muslim, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.