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November 17th, 2010
09:38 AM ET

Pope calls for Pakistani Christian woman to be freed

Pope Benedict XVI called Wednesday for the release of Asia  Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

He also spoke out about the "difficult situation of Christians in  Pakistan," who suffer "discrimination and violence," at the end of his weekly general audience Wednesday.

Bibi was sentenced to death for insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed and  for calling the Quran "fake" - a capital crime in Pakistan.

She has filed an appeal and asked for bail, the chief prosecutor of  Punjab province told CNN.

The prosecutor, Chaudhry Muhammad Jahangir, said the appeal will be heard  by the Lahore High court and a decision could be months away.

Pakistan has never executed someone convicted of blasphemy, he said, but  he refused to predict the outcome of Bibi's appeal.

She was working in a field with several Muslim women in a village  southwest of Lahore when she made the remarks, according to police records.

She also 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 types of cases are almost always overturned by higher courts on appeal, he said.  Capital punishment is carried out by hanging in Pakistan.

Pakistan is more than 96 percent Muslim, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Christianity • Pakistan • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. FatSean

    The god of the Christians, Jews and Muslims is a genocidal sociopath. It has ordered the ancient Hebrews to commit genocide on several occasions. It impregnated Mary without consent. Those who would worship such a being are suspect of having the same tendencies as that being.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @FatSean

      Wow. That oughta send the religious scrambling to cover their filthy holes! God as ra-pist! Who knew?

      November 17, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  2. Keith

    You guys laugh and joke about this woman. Keep on being tolerant you morons, and we'll have this sharia garbage here. Thank God we have the 2nd Amendment, pigs blood, and lots of ammo.

    November 17, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      What is the pig's blood for?

      November 17, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
    • Keith

      General Pershing subdued a muslim uprising in the Philippenes using bullets dipped in pigs blood. Go to hell, do not pass GO, do not collect 72 virgins. I don't believe it for a minute, but since they do....use it against them. Check it out. The Israeli's use vats of hog lard on their public transportation-a suicide can't blow himself up without getting some on himself. When's the last time you heard of a bus getting blown up there?

      November 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  3. Keith

    Call the Pakistani Embassy and let these muslim jokers know the world is watching them. 202-243-6500. I'm not Catholic, but good for the pope. There's a pastor in Iran who's been sentenced to hang for his 'thought crimes'. Afganistan has man who converted from islam to Christianity-he goes before a judge on Sunday. These are not isolated incidents-the more islam is exposed, the more the world sees how evil it actually is. The terrorist extremists aren't the problem-islam itself is the problem. Let Asia Bibi go!

    November 17, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  4. David Johnson

    I don't want to see anything happen to this woman. Killing her would be beyond insane.

    But, if I was in a place where it was considered to be a hangin' error to talk trash about Muhammad, I would maybe listen.

    If you told me, she had a snoot full, when she started her tirade, well then I could understand completely. Who hasn't been there?

    If her motive was to become a Christian martyr, who am I to stop her?

    Article said: "She has filed an appeal and asked for bail, the chief prosecutor of Punjab province told CNN."

    WoW! You can be condemned to death and get bail while waiting on your appeal? I guess they figure condemned people would not be much of a flight risk?

    Happy Trails

    November 17, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  5. Frogist

    I wish there was a link to a transcript of the Pope's actual statement. I'd like to read it. I commend him for condemning the persecution of the religious minority from the majority. I just hope he made mention that blasphemy laws such as these violate the human rights of us all, christian, muslim or otherwise, who all deserve freedom of religion.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  6. Njdevil

    This guy "reality" is actually far from it... First of all, these terroristic attacks are due to americas policy on the israeli/palestinian conflict. Secondly if you live in the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan, you follow their rules. The world is big enough for one to move, or if one wishes to change its rules their is a process to do that

    November 17, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • Megatron69LOLZ

      @Njdevil It's not only that. The #3 reason Osama Bin Laden states for the attacks on the US is the stopping of the genocide which prevented the islamic rule of certain countries. If you don't support the slaughter of innocent people in ethnic cleansing, you're going to make yourself a target.

      The concept that "we're responsible" for terrorism is a cowards way of giving some meaning to pointless and idiotic attacks. Because then something can be done about it.

      November 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Reality

      A summary of the USA's War on Terror:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent Body Count

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat98,691 – 107,707
      Iraqi civilians killed as of 11/9/2010, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and
      defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15) Followed by the daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings every day in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      Continued below:

      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed as of 8/10/2010 mostly due the Shiite and Sunni suicide bombers.

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – Libya has become almost civil. Recently Libya agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the victims of their terrorist activities. Apparently this new reality from an Islamic country has upset OBL and his “cra-zies” as they have thre-atened Libya. OBL sure is a di-sgrace to the world especially the Moslem world!!! Or is he???

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – Bin La-d-en has been cornered under a rock in Western Pakistan since 9/11.

      – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols will follow soon.

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      – And of course the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      November 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  7. Jalal from Chitral

    Why couldn't all the Christian Girls from Pakistan be like Sunita Marshall, Rachel Gill, and Gia Ali

    November 17, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • David Johnson

      Dude! Our American girls are totally hotter than those women. Even our ugly ones.

      November 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  8. Jalal from Chitral

    Why couldn't all the girls from Pakistan be like her?
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JfggTjKmUk&w=640&h=360]

    November 17, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • David Johnson

      She would be hot, if she could lose about 25 pounds...

      November 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • MadPanda

      She made me think impure thoughts. Which of course i blame on her. Who else?

      November 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  9. Reality

    Now it is time for the daily "blaspheming" of Islam:

    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.

    November 17, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  10. Reality

    Once a day WARNING for new commentators:

    • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

    • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

    See previous lists of other words and fragments noted by Raison and Sum Dude.

    November 17, 2010 at 9:49 am |
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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.