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. Muneef

    -God is perfect & Created all perfect.
    -Quran is perfect than no created kinds can bring as perfect even if worked together for it.
    -Muslims are not so perfect therefore as a practiced religion might not be as complete and as perfect since it became shuttered and scattered in to many branches and paths??
    Example given here for Quran : 
    -Quran Sura 07:155
    -Quran Sura 85:21-22
    -Quran Sura 56:75 to 96
    Example given here for Prophet Muhammad SAW :
     -Quran Sura 96:01to 05
    -Quran Sura 36:01 to12
    -Quran Sura 06:49 to 52
    -Quran Sura 10:107 to 109
    What ever happening to Islam today:
    -Quran Sura 06:17 to 19
    -Quran Sura 67:20 to 30  
    The message of God from the Quran addressed to all humans and non humans:
    -Quran Sura 35:01 to 45
    -Quran Sura 05:01 to 120 

    November 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  2. Enoch

    Currently, at the UN, blasphemy is being discussed. Countries with large Islamic populations have once again called for the condemnation of what they call "defamation of religions". I think some action must be taken against this sort of barbarism - the sooner the better!

    November 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  3. Muneef

    This will answer part of your comments:


    November 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Whatevs

    Islam already is terrorist, now its murderer too. The worst religion in the world. Why don't u just eat ur muhammed and ur koran and then disappear u rat ! I wish all the muslim is dead !!!

    November 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  5. dajackg

    The leaders of the civil rights movement in the U.S. were heroes because they knew that if they demonstrated they ran the risk of being arrested, beaten and possibly killed – and they chose to demonstrate anyway. That being noted, it's easy for someone who shares this woman's beliefs to color her as a hero simply because she knowingly chose to do something in support of her beliefs that could result in her death. But there's a difference. Dr. King and his followers addressed the ACTUAL ISSUES – the horrific offenses and crimes against humanity that were going on right here on American soil, with a view to helping EVERYONE to move forward, not just minorities – and they managed to do it without insult or incitement. In contrast, all we know about this woman is that she told some Muslims their religion was wrong. How is that productive? How is that admirable, except to people who already agree with her? It's deliberate provocation; it doesn't encourage any kind of discussion at all. It's not my wish that anyone be killed for speaking their mind, but walking directly into a death sentence for no reason other than to voice an incendiary opinion doesn't make someone a hero in my book unless something is GAINED from it. Nothing has been gained from this woman's actions.

    November 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  6. Mike, not me

    @Reality either
    1 Corinthians 15
    Or the rest of the introduction to "The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan And N.T. Wright in Dialogue"

    Not sure which one you are referring to.

    November 12, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Pakistan is well known for having a corrupted system that aroused all those considered extremes and does have complicated said to be Islamic rules that been introduced maybe by the diligence imams which might not all be right or wrong. We know that Pakistan has to be helped to uplift this heavy loads that she carry on it's back and dare not any can make a change with out too much bloodshed of innocent people and needs to be dealt with carefully and tactfully but this is not an enough reason to go on attacking God Holiness for mistakes made by humans?

    November 12, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  8. gkh

    For those who think Asia Bibi went into Pakistan: just from her name, I am 99.9% sure she is Pakistani.

    November 12, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  9. gkh

    For those who think Asia Bibi went into Pakistan: just from her name, I am 99.9% sure she is Pakistani.

    Tip for all: make sure to fact check before you say anything. Things can be a lot different from what you may think.

    November 12, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  10. BG

    What's the difference between a witch in Salem and a Blasphemer in Pakistan? About 300 years. People don't kill people. Dogma kills people.

    November 12, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  11. Jacob

    Zac Shneider...more ignorance of history. Inquisitions were criminal courts. Perhaps they were a bit benighted in who they sentenced at times but I guarantee you the US government and all secular godless European governments (The Terrors?? The Nazis??? Stalin?? Racist Eugenics??? Toppling democratically elected governments in favor of right wing extremists????) are responsible for more deaths than any inquisition.

    Should the United States government be discontinued? (Being a lefty religion hater you probably do think so...so it can be replaced by eco Nazi Euro style bureaucrats right?)

    November 12, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  12. Jacob

    This guy "Derpdiggler" is one of the most ignorant fools I've ever known.

    Apparently his grasp on history doesn't allow him to recognize that for a thousand years there have been Christians in the region now called Pakistan (a name that was made up in an English university..probably didn't know that either).

    Also it's always funny to me to see people using the internet as a platform to attempt to discredit Christianity. During the "Dark Ages" it was Christian monks transmitting the knowledge of the ancient Greeks and the Romans (it's an oft displayed ignorance among "academics" that the Muslims somehow kept the writings of antiquity and then for some reason gave them back to the Europeans as they were trying to conquer Rome–at that point a crippled city about to be sacked by first Arab Muslims and then Turkish Muslims).
    It was these Christian universities which led to humanism. (Erasmus was if not the first humanist then one of the very first–he was a devout Catholic).
    It was humanism which led to a bible quoting Darwin making his little discoveries before he allowed his intellect to darken his optimism–yet still assented to be buried in a Christian graveyard.
    There was obviously a lot more (mostly Christian) contributions but these are obviously the mile markers which led to modern science and the computer and this silly CNN website where bitter secularists go online to bash "the religious" without ever having to defend their own actions throughout their lives.

    November 12, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  13. Michael

    This is what happens when religion becomes an arm of the state. Thank the gods that the USA has separation of religion and state... for now.

    November 12, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  14. kyuss


    The Dali Lama

    November 12, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  15. Cher


    From a major Catholic university's theology grad school notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.

    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    This does not surprise me. It is part of the New Age thinking. However, it is wrong. Just another person with a t-i-tle trying to change fact.
    Another reason I have a problem with the Catholic beliefs.

    There is a Heaven and a Hell. How would God call Heaven down to a newly created Earth, after he destroys this one? Read Revelation. This is just another example of people trying to discount the word of God. Pathetic.

    Does not surprise me, Catholics believe you are saved at Baptism, as a baby. Even though a baby cannot reason as a baby, nor speak formulated thoughts.

    They also have created a purgatory, where you pray sinners into Heaven. A Lie. It denounces Jesus having paid for all our sins thru his death on the cross.

    So, I wouldn't put to much creedence in what a Grad students notes said.

    November 12, 2010 at 8:50 am |
    • Reality


      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      And heaven being a spirit state if it exists at all is simple common sense that Christian theologians are finally coming to grips with.

      November 12, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  16. Mikko

    Blasphemy is a Victimless Crime. It's blasphemous! Crimes of blasphemy were invented by the religious to defend holy doctrines and dogmas of their religion that were incapable of standing up to scrutiny. Besides, you can't offend what doesn't exist

    November 12, 2010 at 8:11 am |
  17. Reality

    Saving Muslims is quite easy!!!

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths: ( The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave attended to by his wives before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    November 12, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  18. Robert Fliss

    I had somthing to say but, after reading all of this, who would listen?

    November 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  19. Mike Scanlan

    death for that? something is not right there- it's like saying if you think these things but don't say them out loud.. you're okay- but if you say these things uot loud and are told on.. well then you have to be killed.

    November 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  20. Robert Fliss

    Well, I was going to post but,my God,what can I say that anyone would listen to?

    November 11, 2010 at 11:09 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.