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. Silver State Militia

    We will hunt down and exterminate any cleric any where, regardless his or her faith, who promotes this kind of senseless violence.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
    • conoclast

      Oooo, a little chest-beating from the play-soldier camp! It used to be The Commies but now it's The Clerics; no matter, just give us something to hate and shoot at, huh guys? What are you waiting for? Go get your popguns and walkie-talkies kiddies; the clerics are coming!

      December 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  2. coriolana

    peaceful aren't they?

    December 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  3. Gil

    As far as the comments about 'religion kills', whether your talking about Christian or Muslim, it is not about the religion.
    It is a FACT that atheist regimes have killed more people on this earth than ANY other group. People in general are
    culpable, not any one religion, or even 'religion' itself.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • CalgarySandy


      December 5, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
    • Nguyen

      Who are "atheist regimes have killed more peopleon this earth". can you name them.

      December 6, 2010 at 12:18 am |
  4. A

    Are we not just going back to the whole Christ scenario again ? Lets prosecute anyone opposed to what we believe, you'd think we'd have learned by now.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  5. MM

    I will offer $500,000 US$ to castrate that dog of a cleric.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  6. Ldub

    Religion is nothing more than a mass group of stupid people who believe in invisible people. There is no God, there is no Jesus, there is no Muhammed or any of the other hundreds of so called 'gods'. People are just looking for excuses to kill each other.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
    • Nutjob

      You're right Ldub! There is only you.

      December 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  7. InfinityRunner

    Go Jainism!

    December 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  8. MM

    Islam – religion of peace! What a disgusting piece of crap to want to murder a woman. I bet he has no balls.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  9. Barbara Morton

    The number of people through out the history of "civilized man" killed in the name of Jesus. Allah, Jehovah or any other name people call their god is the real sin here. Millions of people have died because they believed or worshiped differently then another group. My question is "Who the heck cares how or who someone else worships or what they believe? Leave each other to believe who and what they want. I, personally don't believe in organized religion. If I want to talk to God I will do it myself and not go through someone else. But a majority of the rest of the world's population does and there in lies the root of most of mankinds troubles. We let others tells us what we should believe and how to enforce those beliefs.Freedom of religion means just that freedom to worship who, what and where you want. But most of the worlds people just doesn't get that.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      One of the things people liked about early Christianity was the fact that no one needed a go between to talk to god. There were no churches and no priests. People were encouraged to help other believers and share all in common. If a few people go together and prayed Jesus said he would be there. He did not say that they should create a money draining church with a bunch of other guys telling you what you should believe or praying for you. Essentially, Jesus taught Socialism and direct and personal contact with god. No Church. No Church men. No Bible. These were mostly illiterate people. Letters passed around were the primary source of information.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  10. Nutjob

    Sam..i'm afraid you have no idea what you're talking about.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  11. Sam

    This really is ALL religion. Most religious people will tell you stories of their past that include heavy drug use. Before there was religion we were all people and now we seperate ourselves behind each individual religion.
    Funniest part is all religious people will agree that religion is crazy and seperates people, they will agree that there are lots and lots of crazy people who are religious, will laugh and make fun of all religions but suddenly defend their own religion as the best religion and the true way to be religious.
    Religion is selfish. It's a draw to save yourself and get to heaven. It's based on fear of being punished for not following something that doesn't make sense.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
    • InfinityRunner

      The religions of Jainism and Buddhism do not fit even remotely in your broad characterization of religion. It would behoove you to acquire some education prior to displaying your vast ignorance.

      December 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      You can be an atheist and a Buddhist. Buddhism, as it comes to us based on the early teachings and in most of the main stream streams today does not call on anyone to believe in god nor is Buddha a prophet. Otherwise, a decided Amen on the differences between these two and all the rest.

      Try taking a public stand against Christianity in the US! They actually think there is a huge plot by atheists to destroy them. So they are out to destroy atheism. Good grief.

      What truly bugs me about Christianity is the fact that you are not responsible for your behaviour as it is through faith you are saved and not works. Death bed confession after a nasty and vile life is okay. Oh, wait. It is by your works that you are known. Just a small inconsistency.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  12. D0n

    clearly our government needs to kill a few more extremist Muslims.
    They missed a few.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  13. JJ

    I offer $1000 for the cleric's head. And in dollars, not worthless rupees.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  14. Nutjob

    500,000 rupees! Such a deal!

    December 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  15. Nutjob

    Why is it always the head? Why not the legs or the rump? Just curious.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • NonPCrealist

      They have different punishments that include hands, noses, ears etc. I doubt they would take a woman's rear though since she needs it to work as a slave in their civilization, you'd not want to hamstring a good mule after all.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  16. Groovy

    What is this like gram positive bacteria against gram negative baceria?

    December 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  17. Joe

    How about that Pakistani law, death or life imprisonment for blasphemy. A mirror reflection of the country's religious tenets. I'd say the issue extends a bit farther than a "single crazy cleric."

    December 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  18. Chico

    I'll offer $10,000 US for the killing of Moulana Yousaf Qureshi

    How does it feel now stupid dumb a@s? Can you read English? If so, watch your back. It's a two way street.

    December 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  19. A Copt

    No one will have power on her except if given from God. Let's all pray for her that the God give her strength and protection. This is the same that happened through the centuries in Egypt to thousands of Egyptian Copts. A clear example is Saint Sidhom Bishay: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidhom_Bishay

    The same Satanic controlled behaviors, but there is no power on earth that can take from God's sons and daughters.

    December 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  20. Motrek

    The fact that a muslim cleric can offer a reward for the murder of a helpless woman raises many questions. What harm can she do? Is God threatened by her? Is she a threat to this cleric? Is she a threat to absolute truth? Will murdering her gain some virtue points for the person who commits this murder?
    The God who really is knows that we cannot gain His favor by anything we do. We can only receive His mercy and be saved by Him. The "god" who is "served" by this cleric is diametrically opposite to the real God, creator and savior. I don't know exactly what this woman said to get into her situation, but if she said Muhammad was a false prophet, she spoke the truth.

    December 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • R. Diane


      December 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
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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.