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. Robert

    More from the so called religion of peace. This behavior threatens all religion and belief systems.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  2. Reality

    The Truth Is – An Update on Today's Major Religions

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. "

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan se-cts.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hit-ti-tes, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    For added "pizz-azz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "fil-icider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedo-ph-iliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adu-lterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    4. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    Current problems:

    The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

    6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."
    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    November 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • Ken

      While I enjoyed reading your composition, I would like to help you in some areas. Archaeology in Isreal/Egypt/fertile crescent has been ongoing for more than 25 years. It's closer to 200. Early archaeologists like Flinders Petrie and Kathleen Kenyon DID have some Biblical objectives in their views. HOWEVER most of us have empirical goals for our studies NOT religious ones. The 7th layer of Jericho is most likely the one spoken of in the Hebrew scriptures, it was burned to the ground and the age of the remains would be correct for that time period. There were 2 temples in Jerusalem, one built by Soloman and destroyed by the Babylonians, one rebuilt and fortified and destroyed by the Romans in CE 70 . There are witings which refer to the House of David and archaeological evidence of Solomonic stables at Megiddo. Most of the cities and Kings in the Hebrew scriptures existed in antiquity and have been shown by modern digs to have been so. Even the Stele of Merneptah talks of Isreal. It existed. We cannot in any surety discuss it in entirety as the Hebrews did not write much in stone like the Egyptians or the Babylonians. Whether Abram of Ur, or Moishe of Canaan existed is up to speculation and possibly simplistic explanations for much more complex civilization movements.

      That Y'Shua ben Yusef was illiterate is unlikely. His tenure as a travelling Rebbe from the root of Jesse makes it more likely that he could read and preside over ceremonies and preach. His attempt to assume leadership on a Pentacost Passover weekend is a probability. Even Josephus mentions him. The Romans crucified political prisoners ONLY, which made Y'Shua a" NAZOREAN" (political insurgent"). The town of Nazareth's oldest dwelling is 200CE. When they uncovered his royal tomb in Talpiot in 1982 they found Y'Shua, his wife Miriamne, a child of theirs, his mother Mary, his brother James, and other royal ossuaries. The IAA took control of all but the James ossuary, which has now travelled the world. it reads "James, brother of Jesus, son of Joseph" in aramaic. No scientist as yet has been able to disprove the patina on the ossuary.
      Because Isreal receives multiple millions every year from conservative Christians in the US and elsewhere it is not in their best interests to make these facts public and the IAA has locked away the other ossuaries after disposing of the remains.

      About the other religions I cannot say, I don't study them. But the above is fact regarding your initial statements.

      November 11, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • Reality

      Obviously, the 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis came to different conclusions.

      November 12, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  3. makes_one_wonder

    One article was "Not Jewish Enough", then you have Muslims deciding who is an "infidel" and saying it is alright to kill those so described, then you have "Christians" saying it is good for anyone to die if that person does not do as told ... sounds like we need time travel to go back and cut Abraham's working parts off so Isaic and Ishmael would never be conceived. (By the way guys, I am "oficially" part of group three, I am sorry to say)

    November 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  4. Average American

    Islam, oBAMA's great religion of peace and love..... Islam & mohammed suk!

    November 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • irina

      When you can't think for yourself, you always will remain average. My suggestion, get above it and don't write any comments without facts behind it.

      November 11, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  5. jg

    More peaceful action from the religion of peace. Peacefully they will hang her, in peace, while shouting death to all infidels and praising their god while they do it (peace be onto him).

    November 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  6. Unbeliever

    Sum Dude said:

    Buddhism has many sects, some of them violent and murderous. You can't paint Buddhism with a single brush...and it is a religion – look up the definition of religion and you will see that it can apply to Buddhism as well as a great many belief systems not often considered religious in nature.


    Please specifically identify any violent and murderous sects of Buddhism for all of us.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • Greg

      Yea I got a good chuckle out of that post too. Those murerous monks and their death zen.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      What am I, your mother? Why would you take my word for it, "unbeliever"? GOOGLE IT.
      If that's too difficult for you..here's a book at Amazon.com:
      Check out what this book is about.

      Here's an excerpt from a different site:"One example of this violent
      imposition can in fact be found in the entry of Buddhism into Tibet.
      Like other people of other nations and faiths, the inhabitants of Tibet
      prior to Buddhism were loathe to give up their traditions and religion of
      Bon, and they did engage in physical resistance of the invaders, who
      committed violence against them. Finally, the "Bonpos" were
      overcome and nearly became extinct at the hands of Buddhists, who
      were not able completely to destroy Bon but had to incorporate many
      of its aspects into "pure" Buddhism. This "marriage" produced Tibetan
      Buddhism." -spiritual-teachers.com/articles/isbudhism.htm

      November 11, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @Greg -laugh it up...here's a book you can get at Amazon or just read about the book "Zen at War (2nd ed.)"

      From the product description: "A compelling history of the contradictory, often militaristic, role of Zen Buddhism, this book meticulously documents the close and previously unknown support of a supposedly peaceful religion for Japanese militarism throughout World War II. Drawing on the writings and speeches of leading Zen masters and scholars, Brian Victoria shows that Zen served as a powerful foundation for the fanatical and suicidal spirit displayed by the imperial Japanese military. At the same time, the author recounts the dramatic and tragic stories of the handful of Buddhist organizations and individuals that dared to oppose Japan's march to war. He follows this history up through recent apologies by several Zen sects for their support of the war and the way support for militarism was transformed into _corporate Zen_ in postwar Japan. The second edition includes a substantive new chapter on the roots of Zen militarism and an epilogue that explores the potentially volatile mix of religion and war."

      And you could google it, too, if you like. You drank the koolaid about Buddhism and did not question the "peacefulness" of the followers of this religion...like so many others...(hi Peace2All! :P)

      Just because you might be "peaceful" does not mean that your religion is. Nice Christians do not follow the nasty bits in the Bible – cherry-picking is a way of coping with the contradictions in the Bible. Or shall we stone some women to death today? Or if we don't have to follow the OT, then we can do whatever thanks to Jesus – like gay marriage.
      You can't have it both ways. Not all history was written by the victors. Religion is used to motivate, a lack of religion cannot be a motivation in and of itself. Cherry-picking is moral relativism. Individual interpretation is just growing your own cherry tree from which to pick what you want to follow. Fundamentalism is chained to the words themselves, written by men who claimed to be writing for God.

      Where are the words Jesus wrote? Burned as heresy, no doubt, if they ever existed. Paul would have done that as a matter of course since he never met Jesus but only claimed a blinding light, a few words, and a "change of heart" without explaining or listing all the things he did in his "persecution" of Christians before his "conversion".
      Have a nice day.

      November 11, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  7. jane

    This woman being sentenced to death is far worse of an injustice than the pastor in Florida who was going to burn the Koran. We need an INTERNATIONAL outcry over this just like with the Koran burning. Muslims are never sentenced to death anywhere in the world for insulting Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. If they want equailty here they need to treat insulting Islam as no different than insulting any other religion. Equailty is a two way street.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Enoch

      I know they used to be so I am not so willing to believe it still doesn't happen.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Bulloch

      Well, there was the Crusades....but Christians haven't really slaughtered anyone in a long time now...

      November 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • Ruby Slippers

      Provided what they have stated this women said is correct, she was PROVOKED by others, and is a victim of BULLYING. Sentencing her to death for making a comment is MURDER. Even if they imprison her, she will be considered a martyr and glorified (St. Asia). As far as the Pastor and burning the Quran? He made a huge statement with that one! He just proved this country has a large number of sympathizers toward Islam and we as Americans are being led down a dangerous path which, will be the demise of this country as it stands today. People have burned the flag, stomped on it, and burned the Bible. You don't see anyone being sentenced to death or going to prison for this, do you!!?? N. Kruschev said "we will bury you." I have the feeling it may just be the Muslims that will be doing the burying. But, I will not go easily. I will be kicking and screaming quite loudly. They will have a fight on there hands with me! God Bless the USA!

      November 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  8. Jesus Saves

    Repent or perish!!

    November 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  9. Mick

    Why do people need to kill in the name of Allah? If he's so damn almighty, why does he do the job himself?

    November 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Enoch

      For the exact same reason people kill in the name of Jesus. They are already weak-minded for believing in a religion in the first place. Killing others who don't believe what you do is a natural extension to the already existing crazy.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      Tell you what believe or disbelieve but do it with out attacking the people hurting their feelings?
      Another thing the Quran has not stated to sentence to death such acts but if a law was made at latter stage then that must have been for a reason to have people stop misuse of words against every thing considered holy for the majority...
      But for this woman in particular if was my decision I would send her to mental hospital for protecting her from her self.

      November 11, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  10. JDK

    And we sent how much money to these idiots.
    Ive lost the hope and its time for some change at home

    November 11, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
    • Hugo

      Yes but change to what?

      November 11, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  11. George

    Definite proof that all religions need to be abolished.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
    • Hugo

      George, what's your beef with Spinozism?

      November 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  12. Noggin

    To Commenter- But as an atheist you're not brainwashed, are you? It's a much bigger leap of faith to believe in nothing than it is to believe in something greater than yourself. What a tool.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • kamikaze

      None of the atheists I know were indoctrinated as such at any point in their lives. Most of us were raised to be Christians or Jews but later rejected those notions as silly. Yes, silly. I respect your right to believe whatever you want to, but I am not required to respect those beliefs themselves. Furthermore, most of us do not proselytze, but simply want to be left alone. We are tired of religious views entering the realm of public policy, where they do not belong.

      November 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • Tommy

      Respect? No you don't, not by your silly, condescending tone. You have no idea what respect means.

      November 11, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • Bill In STL

      Kamikazee – Question.... If you are tired of religous then why are you here? If you are not proseltyzing then why make your statement. In the Aethiest view there is no one above them ... no greater power ... they are on the top of the food chain so they pronounce judgements that religous are bad people. They speak from that position because it is what they believe, and trust me it shows.

      November 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  13. Bella2441

    Mohammed God of the dark world..lol. Jesus Christ King of Kings! The one and only! the blood of Christ will win over all in the end! Mohammed..what a joke! I spit on Mohammed God and the Quran!

    November 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • George

      I don't know what you're talking about. Muhammed is as much joke as Jesus and as any other religious figure. They are all characters in a fiction book.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • WWFSMD

      George got it right.

      November 11, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
    • Muneef

      May God take your tongue out of your mouth InSha'a Allah. WalaHowlaWalaKwahAlaBillah.

      November 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  14. Commenter

    Waste majority of theists believe in god only because someone kept telling them that when they were very small children and later. Simply stated, waste majority of christians would be muslims if they were born in a muslim country and brainwashed from early age into islam, and vice versa. If there is no such brainwash from generation to generation, religion would vanish. Looks like existence of god depends on perpetual brainwash.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      If there was no education of mathematics from generation to generation, there would be no physics.
      Your argument is specious, as what isn't taught (brainwashed, in your words), one can't learn or practice.
      Not unlike some rather bizarre, non-mainstream superstring theories that aren't panning out... Or any of 7000 other theories.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
    • Enoch

      I agree with the OP. 99% of the time, one's religion is what one was raised believing. If you are religious and Christian in America, there is a strong reason to believe that you would be Muslim if born and raised that way in the Middle East. Your attempt to analogize this to teaching of mathematics is simply a poor analogy. The teaching of a subjective religion is not the same as the teaching of an objective science.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  15. Jim P

    Islam, bunch of jerks, this story proves it beyond any doubt.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  16. Patrick

    Yeah, I think religious intolerance is sick and no one should do it. We should try to put some pressure on them to forgive her. Then we can work on the Sunnis to lay off the Shia and the Shia to lay off the Sunnis before that whole area goes up in smoke.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  17. Jack

    This is what happens in countries that don't seperate rellgion and state

    November 11, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  18. makes_one_wonder

    Maybe it's time to go back to treating all religions as seperate from everyday life, and especially, seperate from any government. When something like this happens, I am one of those that thinks "Alright, this is not a religion. It is a group wanting power and will kill ANYONE for ANY reason that they can use to frighten others into line. So, declare this one a "non religion" and start punishing them for doing harm to others.

    November 11, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  19. TheRationale

    Another foolish regime trying to rule by fear through a religion too insecure to handle any sort of criticism. Unless governments like this come to their senses, they will perish by their own self-destructive nature.

    November 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  20. V in Chicago

    And we want to continue to send money to this country because?

    November 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
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About this blog

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.