December 5th, 2010
05:24 PM ET

Pakistani cleric puts price on condemned Christian's head

A Pakistani cleric is offering a nearly $6,000 bounty for the killing of a Christian woman whose death sentence for blasphemy is being challenged by Pakistan's government.

Moulana Yousaf Qureshi made his announcement at a Friday service in the northwestern city of Peshawar. He condemned any effort by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon or release Asia Bibi (pictured) and said he and his followers will call on millions to protest if Pakistan's blasphemy laws are amended.

"I will pay 500,000 rupees for the loyal follower of Muhammad who beheads Asia Bibi," Qureshi told a crowd of several hundred people. The amount is equivalent to about $5,800, or more than six times the country's average annual wage.

In November, a Pakistani court found the 45-year-old Bibi guilty of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with Muslim fellow field workers. The offense is punishable by death or life imprisonment, according to Pakistan's penal code, and Bibi was sentenced to death.

But an investigation by a Pakistani government ministry found the charges stemmed from "religious and personal enmity" and recommended Bibi's release. Zardari has said he would pardon Bibi, but a court has ruled that the president can't act until the sentence is confirmed by a higher court - a process her lawyer says could take two to three years.

About 2 million Christians live in Pakistan, making up slightly over 1 percent of the officially Islamic nation's population of about 170 million, according to government statistics.

Journalist Nasir Habib and CNN's Reza Sayah contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Pakistan • Violence

soundoff (574 Responses)
  1. michael

    i dont understand why they treat their women so badly. the men ( term used loosly) must be very insecure and on a power trip.

    December 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  2. Dan

    Awesome. More CNN pandering to the Christian victim complex. Today's been a banner day for this site.

    December 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  3. michael

    correction after 62 years

    December 5, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  4. Levas

    Seems to me that Pakistan needs a major change in its legal system to make the cleric stand trial for conspiracy to commit murder; soliciting murder, etc., etc. I wonder if someone will put a price on the head of the cleric?

    December 5, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  5. michael

    what do you expect from a second rate country that after hundreds of years has nothing to show for itself except hate

    December 5, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  6. Kamereon

    So, where do we start up the fund to take a hit out on this "cleric"?

    December 5, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  7. Ben Ben

    and they wonder why nobody likes them.

    December 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  8. imagine

    My imaginary friend is better than your imaginary friend.

    December 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  9. Kudu

    All religions have their fringe groups that border on lunacy, (i.e. Westboro Baptist Church). To categorize any or all religions according to one zealot is nothing more than pure unadulterated racism and only the ignorant subscribe to it.

    December 5, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  10. image42

    "the rest of the world totally got over the dark ages centuries ago...wish the islamic nations would hurry it up a bit"

    Christianity got a 600 year head start. About 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope. Pius V in France in 1572 according to some accounts. Maybe by 2172 things will start to calm down 🙂

    December 5, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  11. Gabriel

    I wish the people of Pakistan peace. Unfortunately, we I read such things, its obvious that our civilizations are completely incompatible. It would be bettter if contact between our peoples would cease.

    December 5, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
  12. Ceri

    the rest of the world totally got over the dark ages centuries ago...wish the islamic nations would hurry it up a bit, its sick this is still going on in 2010.

    December 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  13. Terry Abernethy

    Islam – religion of peace...

    December 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  14. rashid

    Islam, a religion of peace and tolerance.

    December 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
    • Chris

      A shining example of the tolerance of Islam. Asking Pakis to be tolerant is like asking a dog not to eat its own excrement.

      December 6, 2010 at 1:44 am |
  15. JeffMathers

    These cavemen have to be the missing link between man and primates. What kind of syphilis is decaying this mornon's brain?

    December 5, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  16. image42

    Countries like Pakistan are sometimes in a diffiicult position. Its sort of like when President Reagan got too cozy with the Jerry Falwell and his so-called moral majority Christians. And then later had to start distancing himself.

    December 5, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
    • rashid

      No, it isn't like that al all, numb nuts.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  17. mark

    Isn't this solicitation of murder? Why do they get to hide behind religion in their a z z backwards Muslim state? Pakistan is what happens when you give into religous nut jobs when they ask for their own state. Listening Palestine?

    December 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • Claire C.

      You nailed it. This is why complete separation of church and state is essential. You never know which religion will be the majority one, and it could be one created by a child-molesting megalomaniac warlord who studied the Jews and Christians before him in creating an extremely effective indoctrination method to spread and enforce his sick "religion."

      December 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  18. JJ

    Cant we just offer 7k for the Cleric?

    December 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  19. mahdee

    This is so backwards. Of course, the US putting McDonald's all over the planet is pretty lame too.

    December 5, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • Chris

      What a comparison, a woman being murdered by mob mentality to a business that is expanding because of its popularity. It really shows the mentality of what the world faces with Muslims

      December 6, 2010 at 1:48 am |
  20. guest

    This is why anyone who believes Islam is a "peaceful" religion is an idiot. I no longer believe they are even on the same evolutionary track as other human inhabitants of this planet. I think they are a prime example of devolution. It is time the word "Islam" produces the same visceral reaction as "Nazi."

    December 5, 2010 at 10:34 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.