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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. sanevoice

    Western civilization has contributed to wealth and prosperity, check the following video

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/12/200_years_in_4_minutes.php

    What has islamic civilization contribute??? Suicide bombers and sympathizers, a drag to the worlds prosperity.

    December 7, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  2. Have Mercy

    I just sent the following message to severalPakistani embassies in the USA:

    Dear Ambassadors,
    I write to you with the sincere intention of preventing a terrible tragedy. I have been watching the news and have become aware of the plight of Asia Bibi who has been charged with blasphemy and sentenced to death. The news shocked and saddened me. Please excuse my ignorance but I have heard so many times "Allah is merciful." If so, should not His servants on Earth also be merciful? Surely the words of a young, foolish mother cannot harm Allah. I plead with you to urge your government to pardon Asia Bibi and not bow to the pressure of the cruel men who thirst for blood. Please, show the world that Pakistan is the just and civilized nation I believe it to be, an ally against extremism and a moral beacon in the Middle East.
    If Aisa Bibi is murdered it will be a sin against God, whatever name you give Him.
    With great sorrow and hope, -–
    -I urge everyone who would see this victim of extremism spared to do likewise. Thank you.

    December 6, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • Dindy.....

      Have Mercy....Good Job Bless you!!

      December 8, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  3. Gary

    religion is for weak minded folks....

    December 6, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  4. Muneef

    A propaganda to generate more violence and hatred in the area..otherwise no need was there for all this fuss over insane women saying few words of ignorance should not be made example with but is to be taken to a mental hospital being danger to her self... But my belief that if such as these words came from the mouth of those highly educated ones then only the course of punishment should take place...

    December 6, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
    • Have Mercy

      @Muneef- so what you are saying, sir, is that only highly educated people who speak their minds freely should be executed? If you are living in the United States I strongly urge you to move to Iran where you will feel more at home.

      December 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
    • Stunned

      Muneef,

      I strongly suggest that you take yourself to that mental hospital - and do it quickly!

      December 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
    • Muneef

      Well what I am saying is that she is uneducated and knows nothing but for an educated person to attack with such words that were swears and curses rather than an educated reasonable debate then it is the law and is not of my own but of the islamic sharia...
      Any way rest assured I am not living in the USA but a third world country and one of the poorest and most troubled thanks to you.

      December 7, 2010 at 7:08 am |
    • Muneef

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_Yemen

      December 7, 2010 at 7:31 am |
    • Muneef

      What ever I mentioned before it does not give any party other than the related court to execute the verdict whether negative or positive that has to be respected by all, and who undertake any execution in disrespect of the court verdict it is then a criminal act.. No one is God on earth undertaking the laws in to their hands what ever their religious status is not even the pope him self...
      Now as it seems that some one is having plenty of money to spend on acting God on earth financing the undertaking of executions rather than the concerned courts of authority?? Seems plenty of money is available for that concern? Wonder if that money has any thing to do with the money paid out by the US and Allies to the wrong people to fight the Taliban's?
      Wonder if that money as well is offered by those as a head price to execute the foreign and local troops other than innocent civilians? Final thing for me to wonder is if this law applies in equality to a Muslim or non Muslim committing same or there are some different verdicts regulating same as we Never can consider equal those who know and those who don't? Nor those who can see and those who can't? Nor those literate or illiterates?

      December 7, 2010 at 8:34 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Muslims even Muneef 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 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!!!!

      December 7, 2010 at 10:58 am |
    • Muneef

      Now this so said Pakistani cleric has got him self in to bad situation that he would regret in future! Why you will ask, well as an enemy any one wants him to be accused and condemned with her killing would have her killed and then all fingers will point to this cleric even if she was not killed by him or by some one he promised to pay...
      Well I guess now for the sake of saving him self and his people and followers he has to make sure she will be safe from any harm that he would be accused of... And I would wish him to use such money he has in more educational and productive projects for his people rather than spending it in bloodshed of a unlettered ignorant woman that might have been pushed to say what she said if she ever said it and was not plotted accused of saying it by ill hearted peasants who equally have no respect to the people of the books and considering them as impure...

      December 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  5. HotAirAce

    I am absolutely shocked by the vitriol displayed by believers in here! Anyone promoting or suggesting violence against anyone in or outside this story really needs to give their head a shake and get down on their knees and beg forgiveness from their supernatural being.

    I am an atheist and the violence advocated in here has only deepened my conviction that all religions are sick. That being said, in the very slim chance there are one or more gods, I will step completely out of character and and pray to them all to deal with thier sheep quickly and severely for promoting hatred against others. Many of you should truly be ashamed of yourselves!

    December 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  6. USMuslim

    Someone should put a price on this mullahs head too....just to even up things....this man is a disgrace to Islam.

    As bad as the Klan.

    December 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • Dindy.....

      USMuslim I agree.

      December 8, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  7. DisrespectFearandLoathing

    Thought is not a group activity.

    It must always be done alone by an individual.

    Anytime you hear someone say "We think...." or "We believe" you are about to be told a lie. No thinking was involved.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  8. Reality

    ATTENTION ALL IMAMS:

    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 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!!!!

    Analogous free Step Programs are available for saving Christians and Jews.

    December 6, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  9. Frogist

    When people are being condemned to death and openly persecuted by religious leaders, doesn't that speak of why religion should not have the absolute power and wealth it currently commands in Pakistan? I'm really sick of this kind of thing. Religion, you are supposed to be our moral compass. Our way to teach us how to exist without war and harm. But apparently to some that only means to silence those who dissent, esp by any means necessary. But if he is so adamant and defensive about blasphemy laws, maybe it means that the pressure from international scrutiny is now on to get rid of them. I should hope so, or this is just sickening.

    December 6, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  10. Ingold

    Islam is peaceful as long as you have a beard, along with lack of knowledge

    December 6, 2010 at 8:41 am |
  11. scrollman

    There is more going on here than meets the eye. Simplistic explanations and dogma won't cut it anymore. My novel The Fallujah Scrolls takes on both sides

    December 6, 2010 at 6:58 am |
  12. tugboattom

    Expect this kind of thing if Palin becomes president.

    December 6, 2010 at 6:51 am |
  13. G. R.R.

    This is ridiculous that a person is sentenced to death when another gave false testimony about what somebody says. We need to get her and her family out of pakistan.

    December 6, 2010 at 6:39 am |
  14. ashoke ray

    We should behead this Muslim cleric.

    December 6, 2010 at 6:37 am |
  15. JLS

    Qureshi does not represent Islam. He is a fraud and should be indicted. He is also a Taliban member!!!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 6:24 am |
  16. Pray

    And Islam is a peaceful relegion! Yeah hows that working for you?

    December 6, 2010 at 6:09 am |
  17. Karloff

    Other than Islamic extremists, Islam is a peaceful religion. Yes, very peaceful.

    December 6, 2010 at 5:47 am |
  18. WereAllHosed

    this poor lady and her kids should receive political asylum in a developed nation.
    those guys are nuts; they'd kill her and the kids! :-p

    December 6, 2010 at 5:08 am |
    • G. R.R.

      Exactly. I am trying to figure out why we did not offer it long ago once she was found guilty and then released.

      December 6, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  19. PsiCop2000

    Because of such backwards people, is why I quit going to church.
    Such people that say the death is the Will of THEIR God, is no better than any Dictator on the planet. Past Present and Future!

    The main problem with the saying "An eye for an eye. And a tooth for a tooth." is that in the end, everybody is blind and slurping oatmeal.

    December 6, 2010 at 4:45 am |
  20. WOW!!!

    For anyone who is interested: http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/33/57/default.htm

    I found it mind numbingly disturbing...

    December 6, 2010 at 4:43 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.