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. Ken

    Such a brave man, this, Moulana Yousaf Qureshi !!! His praises will be sung to the high heavens and Allah will be proud of Moulana Yousaf Qureshi for his bravery and steadfast religiosity for his pronouncement and his acts. You will not have to go to heaven to get your 72 virgins, they are waiting for you at your home, brother Moulana Yousaf Qureshi!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 3:55 am |
    • Kabel

      You think this man Moulana Yousaf Qureshi is a brave man? He is nothing more than a coward, a coward who is afraid to have the blood of a woman on his hands, so he hires someone else to do it for him. After all God said "Thou shall not kill."

      You feel that by paying for the assasination of this woman that Yousaf deserves 72 virgins? You look upon woman as property, yet God stated that we should look upon woman as our partners our secound half. You expect a reward for doing the work of God, why should God have to reward anyone for doing his works? Is not God our creator our master or God?

      If God wanted this woman dead she would already be dead, but she is not. Do you actually believe that God requires assistance from any man or woman? Did God speak to you or Yousaf and specificly mandate that you kill this woman? Has he sent his messenger upon you to deliver this message? And yet you still believe it's the will of God?

      I will pray to him for both you and Yousaf. May he and his son Jesus have mercy upon your soul and forgive you all your sins. May he bring you peace and bring you true understanding of his word.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:29 am |
  2. Kbritt

    Pakistani immigrants in predomanent christian countries should step up and explain to this thug " Moulana Yousaf Qureshi' about the freedoms they enjoy.

    December 6, 2010 at 3:07 am |
  3. Bangpoprocks


    December 6, 2010 at 2:55 am |
    • Ken

      The dude is already dead: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed

      December 6, 2010 at 4:07 am |
    • Shilohgl

      What you just post is ignorant! Thanks for making the world dumber with that post.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:35 am |
  4. Prometheus

    I'll post a reward of $10.00USD for anyone who kicks this "Cleric" in the nuts and posts the video.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:37 am |
  5. Cathy

    So this woman is going to die, because some madman is offended by something she said that he didn't even hear.. and everyone is arguing over religion..

    It's not really too hard to see why wars are never ending... While peole are out fighting and dying in them for whatever dogma or propoganda is popular this week.. everyone else sits around and argues about how justified they are in their own beliefs and how wrong everyone else is in theirs..

    The only change that's ever made is the number of people who die...

    Have to love the irony though, if all the religions are right, everyone's going to hell and if all the religions are wrong, we've created one on earth anyway..

    December 6, 2010 at 2:27 am |
    • Eric of Reseda

      OK, you've placed yourself well above everybody else here. So what's YOUR solution?

      December 6, 2010 at 2:39 am |
  6. Eric of Reseda

    Yes, the "Religion of Peace". As many hear have noted, that's pure horse-poo. I'm a proud Liberal, but I have two working eyes. Islam has been waging jihad for decades now, with a constant supply of soldiers, killing non-Muslims and Muslims alike. It is an inherently flawed religion heavily geared toward a sort of Facism and certainly inherently violent. Not unlike Christianity.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:24 am |
    • Eric of Reseda


      December 6, 2010 at 2:37 am |
  7. M

    Welcome to the world of the religion of peace, where blasphemy is a capital offence, and issuing hits like a mob boss is the norm.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:16 am |
    • G. R.R.

      Yes, instead we need Christian religious leaders like Pat Robertson who preach peace. Of course, it was just the liberal media (like fox) claiming that he said that we should kill Chavez and he never said that. Nor did he call for killing of Chinese leaders.

      December 6, 2010 at 6:50 am |
  8. GE in MD

    We should withdraw all aid and support for Pakistan if this woman is harmed in any way. Where is the outrage and protests from other Moslems outside of Pakistan – especially in the US??!!! I don't even hear the sound of one hand clapping,

    December 6, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  9. Indyman

    Religions don't kill people; people kill people.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  10. Indyman

    Former Governor Huckabee called for the Execution of Wikilieaks' Assange. Perhaps born-again Huckabee and this cleric speak often and exchange ideas.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:14 am |
  11. Bush

    Bush put bounty on many innocent Muslims. How is this different?

    December 6, 2010 at 2:12 am |
  12. Iraqi Oppressed

    Someone tell me how did they get 2 million Christians in Pakistan? Missionaries?

    December 6, 2010 at 2:11 am |
  13. Afghan

    So one Christian woman is big deal yet daily the US kills over 25 in drone bombings. Come on, give me a break. This isn't Cesar's Rome,j is it?

    December 6, 2010 at 2:10 am |
    • Dindy.....

      Afghan ....they must be Taliban get killed by drones.

      December 8, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  14. DaveLacksNYUSA

    Islam, the religion of PEACE!

    December 6, 2010 at 1:45 am |
  15. Jim


    December 6, 2010 at 1:39 am |
  16. Sydney Australia

    I have $6.000.00 USD for whoever beheads Moulana Yousaf Qureshi. For anyone else who is serious, lets get together.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  17. Chris

    They like to persecute other religions because they are so insecure about the validity of their own. They have no concept of a fair trial either, since public opinion is againster her she will be dead soon. Its okay though because one day we all die and will need to atone for our wrongs. I'm sure Asia Bibi will be awaiting her tourmentors as a witness against them before the great judge.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:34 am |
  18. CRG

    This is why governments need to be secular. In the USA, if someone offers to pay someone to kill someone, that is a crime in itself. It is frightening that a country like Pakastan has the bomb.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:32 am |
  19. NHop

    But never forget: Islam is a religion of peace, compassion, and tolerance.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:16 am |
  20. Shortcake

    Religion is never about hate or killing. People who use the good name of Religion to commit dreadful acts toward other human beings are mere cowards living in their very own idiotic and cynical world. May Ms Asia Bibi finds strength and courage in her fight for justice and may the mighty God be with her till the very end.

    December 6, 2010 at 1:16 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.