November 11th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan

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.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Pakistan • Persecution

soundoff (702 Responses)
  1. Ryedo


    It doesn't matter if this lady is a Christian, an Islamic apostate, or an Atheist. Imprisoning, fining or sentencing a person to death for openly criticising religion – any religion – is damn right disgusting, backward, and barbaric. But that's religion in a nutshell, isn't it.

    November 11, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  2. Ralph

    Can she pay the fine after the execution???

    November 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  3. Jeff

    No offense, but atheism, agnostism, and secular humanism are exactly what they profess not to be; they too are mere religions. You can niether prove nor disprove the existence of a god through science and mathematics. You can't even come up with a plausible or reliable "more likely than not" statistical probability. You cannot prove nor disprove that your view of morality is better than anyone else's view regardless of whether that view of morality is based on Islam, the Bible, the Torah, mathematics or secular science.

    The founding fathers of America had it spot on. All men and women should be allowed the privilege of worshiping how, where, or what they may - according to the dictates or their own conscience. This is a fundamental right my friends. As a lawyer, I would daresay that this is THE fundamental right.

    What is lacking in the world is RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE and MUTUAL RESPECT for things which others hold sacred. Who cares if she thinks that the Prophet Muhammad was all of those things she said? Does she not have a right to speak or defend her own religious beliefs?

    The truth is that no one can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one religion is better than anyone else's religion. (Note that the term "religion" here includes atheism, agnostism, and secular humanism.) People just need to find what truly works best for them, and then respect everyone else's right to choose for themselves.

    By pointing the finger at "religion," some members of the new religions (i.e., atheism and secular humanism) are really only doing what other intolerant members of other religions have been doing for centuries - putting people down and disrespecting those things which are sacred to other people. (Note when I say "those things which are sacred," I mean things that may seem stupid or foolish to you, but are sacred to other people.) Honestly, did your parents never teach you that "if you can't say anything nice about someone else, then it is best not to say anything at all?"

    Trust me when I say that looking to Bill Maher as your role model is niether enlightened, intelligent, respectful, nor prudent. (Yes, Bill Maher's "Religiouslous" along with other calls for secular humanism are no better than any other pieces of disrespectful, religious propoganda aimed at attacking other people's beliefs in an attempt to engrandize your own beliefs.)

    We are all on the same team here people. We are all wearing the same jersey. We are all travelling through space in the same boat. We are all members of the human family. Whether you believe it or not, it is my belief that we are all children of a loving and kind father in heaven. Let's all try to show more respect for each other without forcing our beliefs on others or making arrogant claims that our beliefs are better than your beliefs.

    It is interesting that today, of all days, is Veterans Day. Let's not forget all the men and women who have died so that you and I can have the freedom to discuss these matters on these boards without fear of death.

    November 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      Thanks for not quoting scripture at us. You worked a little harder on that post, I think. Yes, you have the freedom to be wrong, and to think and believe what you like...until they infringe on the rights and freedoms of others.
      You say you are a lawyer. If so, why don't you oppose Christian groups who want to legislate their particular brand of morality? As a Christian, maybe they would listen to you.
      Or is your faith more important than your country, your ethics, or your willingness to share the planet with us?

      November 11, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  4. obie

    Hum alot of atheist blogging I see I believe in Jesus Christ and he teaches tolerance even for muslims and atheist who feel twhat we see through animal eyes is true meaning they only speak what they know as anaimals albeit a human one all humans know the animal seeing touching smeeling etc.. some of us have a spirit and see beyond the animal the bible prophised of you I will pray for you-you may not deserve it but I will when you create a universe and planets and living beings then you can dictate what exists but since you don't know where the universe came from or where it's going especially yourself I will pray for you

    November 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  5. matt sobel

    the world doesn't need any more chritian that for sure eh

    November 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  6. Two Daggers

    Death to all Muslims

    November 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  7. Keith

    THIS is the sharia law that the people of Oklahoma voted down. THIS is the true face of islam. What a kind and tolerant religion. The religion of peace. Satan broke the mold when he dreamed up this one. At least we have the 2nd Amendment here to help insure that this disease called islam doesn't spread here, because unfortunately, our judges legislate from the bench in America.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  8. Kerry Berger

    Pakistan's laws are a bit extreme to say the least. However, their fervent belief in their religion is no different than the excesses of Fundamentalist Christians who support the death penalty and also blame poverty on lack of hard work. I'm certain if they could run this country we would be heading back to a tribal way of life where minority religions would be persecuted, kind of like before the Wars of Reformation in Europe.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  9. Loogin

    All she said was 'this peice of halibut was good enough for Jehova'

    November 11, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  10. Al

    Perhaps we should ask Pakistan to join the 21st century.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  11. E.C.

    Now , now, everyone. Remember, this is the peace loving religion of Islam, so peaceful, so tolerant, the very one that millions of OUR tax dollars are being used to rebuild and repair their mosques, while our own citizens struggle to survive in many cases. Don't you just feel the "love"?

    November 11, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  12. Arthur

    Oppss. The truth hurts!

    November 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  13. itgrl

    What if it was all made up.....the story the woman told the police, the "confession". This story doesn't ring true to me. Think about it.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
    • itgrl

      They are so intolerant of other religions, I think being anything other than muslim puts a target on your back. These woman could have made it all up, and the authorities could have made her confess if they really wanted to.

      November 11, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  14. Dave

    For the record, I believe that Jesus was a fictional human corn dog. That being said, at least the christies revere him because he was supposedly God (or his son, or both, who knows/cares?). With Muslims, this mohammed jerk (peace be upon him) was just a prophet! You people talk about him more than Allah, and furthermore he seems more like a boogeyman than a prophet at this point. You can't draw him and plus he has this whole voldemort complex brewing. A suggestion for islamic reform: let's take Muhammed (fleece be upon him) to the next level: nobody can say his name either. So then we can call him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (peace be upon him).

    November 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
    • Laura

      mmmmm corndogs.

      November 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  15. CURT

    It was just last week when I said I don't trust Pakistan.

    Muslims may blame Christians for things

    But it is so much easier to blame Muslims for crying about everything, this isn't elementary school.. Like death because you called a religion fake... THE BIBLE IS FAKE... I still believe in god, Im a christian.. Does that make me bad.. I don't think so I was born a christian no choice, ALL REGIONS ARE ALL MODIFIED VERSIONS OF REAL KNOWLEDGE but it is modified by the victors of past wars... So yeah I'd say the Karan is fake it is based on something that is real though, just modified. So yeah. So much easier to blame Muslims.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  16. Ed

    Duh.....she is from Pakistan. Why would assume otherwise?

    November 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  17. JohnQuest

    Sorry for the fat finger "Speak"

    November 11, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  18. JohnQuest

    Muneef, I'm no fan of religion but anyone that think (let alone speck) like Sri isn't worth a thought or a reply.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hi there, yes you are right he is not worth it but did need to be showered put limits for the use of words referring to the Holiness..! This guy seems to be Asian from Southern India areas according to his name just as in Srilanka...and those are Pagans mostly therefore should not expect any good from them worshipping all that been created in universe but not worshipping the Creator of the whole universe ? So you see no brains here used to figure things out and their religion is just inherited and followed blindly with out questioning the truth of universe and creation...

      November 12, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  19. mark

    Muhammed was a child molester, married a nine year old and should have been put to death himself.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  20. Dennis

    Blasphemy is a victimless crime.

    November 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.