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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. Fairplay99

    A great many of these posts are filled with statements that do not accurately depict religious teachings or values of any religion. When violence is promoted in the name of any religion, that in itself is a blasphemy. None of us should be contemplating revenge by way of murder or otherwise. It is true that Islamic countries that operate under sharia law are slowly eradicating other religions, especially Christianity. To me that means the Muslim leaders are afraid of what the other religions teach, therefore they control their populations through fear. The freedoms that are enjoyed in the United States have very deep roots in Judeo-Christian teachings and values.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  2. Abid

    To all my friends commenting here on Islam. Please do your research. Let me add some facts. Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H was tortured by non believers during his daily life but he never asked/ordered or himself hurt them. He always said if these people don't accept Islam may be their next generation would.

    These clerics use religion for political benefits.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • Art

      Mohammed certainly did hurt and kill people and order his men to do the same. He personally beheaded over 700 men in Mecca and took as slaves the women and children. He has ordered the killing of thousands of other non-believers. I can spend hours writing all the passages of the Quran are violent. However Quran 9:29 says a mouthful. Even Islamic clerics admit that the Quran is a violent book.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  3. BakriChod Mo

    Hillary can write bigger check for bibi release than mulla. Pakistan will go for $$$$$$$

    December 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
    • BakriChod Mo

      Mohmad (PBUH) was a warrior.How you paint him peaceful ?

      December 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  4. Joop Kaashoek

    I guess we will have to outlaw religion, anything that has mystical beliefs. Won't happen. Too many people like their drugs.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • Saji

      Like biting posts on message boards, eh Joop? I guess we all get our fixes in different ways. And we both got ours on Sunday!

      December 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  5. GuessWho

    Let's all apologize for Islam by slamming other religions. That way we can compensate for any offense we may cause them. There was a reason why religion was so bloody...because pagan cults like Islam threatened civilization.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  6. db

    First someone needs to put a dot, about a .045 diameter between this idiot calld Moulana Yousaf Qureshi's eyes. The goverment should also inform him that if anyone harms this woman he will be held responsible and suffer the same way as punishment. These fanatics are local terrorists that have no basis for their actions. This is NOT the peaceful ISLAM that is in the KORAN

    December 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  7. erin

    Jesus words in the Injil. "You heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens ...quoted from MATHEW 5;43,44 "You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him." quoted from John 8:44 Let whoever has the insight of the eagle apply it whereever it goes.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  8. Daithi mac curtáin

    Some one should put a bounty on his head and see how he likes it maybe a drone could fly by his house and pay him a visit .

    December 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  9. RW

    He is not even a terrorist and look how crazy this Muslim is. Islam is a danger to the world. Islam is psychopathic and Mohamed was a pedophile.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  10. bremen3011

    Though I agree all religions have there problems, but I'm tired of Atheists also trying to tell people what to believe (or not to in there case). I myself am Atheist but I don't go around mocking religions and hawking at my neighbors because there Christian, Jewish or whatever. Let the religious people believe what they want, and by the way today Christianity is far tamer then it was years ago, Islamic driven countries tend to follow older traditions and brutal punishments and carried are out daily. Christianity is extreme, but not in that violent way anymore, they wouldn't hang or kill someone for blaspheming Christ, least not in America. So you fellow Atheists, be glad you live here then over there, otherwise you'd be dead for spewing your anti-religious beliefs and criticism.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • Nutjob

      Well, aren't you holier than thou! How ironic.

      December 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  11. lazy

    Forget the fact that the man is a religious leader. Simply look at this as a murder for hire. Shouldn't he be arrested and prosecuted for this? Will there government do anything... Probably not, the take the chance of having a revolt by there own people if they do so. I imagine what will happen is either they will leave her in prison or have here flown to the US (where else) and claim asylum and she will get it. Pakistan is so corrupt and has so many problems they cant afford to have a major church-state issue.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  12. Just a regular Joe

    Maybe someone might offer 2 million rupees to the person who beheads Moulana Yousaf Qureshi for his self-serving condemnation of this woman, likely only done to suit his purpose and agenda...

    December 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  13. sparky

    so put a higher price on the cleric's head

    December 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • Nutjob

      500,001 rupees!

      December 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  14. Dallas

    Yeah, you folks are right. Religion is SO bad. We all know officially atheistic nations have such a good track record on human rights...oh wait....Well, at least atheists have made innovations to help society....oh wait....Well, at least they help the poor and hungry more than those silly believers....oh wait.....

    December 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • sparky

      oh wait, let's compare the number of people in the past 2000 years tortured and slaughtered in the name of God oh wait!! duuuuhhhh oh wait!! duh, a hilk a hilk I'm a full blown retard oh wait!

      December 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
    • Nutjob

      You hit the nail on the head sparky when you said you were a full blown retard. Finally some truth on CNN!

      December 5, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Saji

      There's no question that Muslims and Christians have numerous historical atrocities that they should answer if they want to contribute to making a world of peace. But the idea that agnostics and atheists feel they have a pedestal to preach from is mystifying. The blood shed caused by those who disavow God (god, gods) is plentiful and sad. If they insist that the problem is religion, they're intentionally being historically ignorant and disingenuous. That's hardly motivating for a religious person to reconsider his views, regardless of how "sheep" like we can be.

      December 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  15. David Webb

    I wonder what price would be put on my head for calling Mohammed a common thief who would eat a breakfast of pork with his left hand surrounded by menstruating women?

    December 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
    • Nutjob

      Duh! 500,000 rupees!

      December 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • David Webb

      dang, I thought the thing about the pork would get me at least 100,000 extra!

      December 5, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Nutjob

      No soup for you!

      December 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  16. baruch

    Appalling. If Muslims want to be accepted in the world then they need to reign in their bloodthirsty extremists.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  17. dsd

    As a Muslim I would like to put a price on this cleric's head for doing something so stupid. Pakistan is suffering from the worst flood in history n instead of donating to people who need it,he wants to put his money on something so ridiculous.

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

      Voice of reason appreciated! People need to get to know more Muslims in their own locale to see that, hey, crazy wacko extremism isn't a "religious" thing. Most Muslims and Christians and what-have-you are perfectly pleasant and decent people. But some cultures and ideologies cause can brainwash people and cause them to become extreme in their ways (and/or such cultures allow those who are already nuts to flourish, whereas they get locked away in other nations).

      December 5, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  18. Micah J

    "The religion of Peace" strikes again.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  19. Saji

    It's ironic that the irreligious use the "belief" section of CNN to spar with the religious about violence. What's the difference between irreligious and religious self-righteousness and hypocrisy if they both lead to violence?

    December 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • Gil

      Maybe they happened into this section like I did, this story was under 'Latest News'.

      December 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jason

      Not much difference. Most atheists I've seen on these boards are much more self-righteous and arrogant than the religious folk. On a side note, I think the word you are looking for is non-religious, not irreligious.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  20. Scott

    Religion of peace ?? I wonder what dictionary they use.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:21 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.