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. George

    I think someone should put a bounter on this morons head.. $12,000 sounds like a good amount to me.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  2. David

    If there were no religions you still would have had the wars and killings by all the atheists. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler. Hitler pretended to have an interest in religion for political reasons at times but the truth is they were all atheists and all had the blood of countless millions on there hands. The truth is it's not atheists or religion that's the problem, it's mankind in general. Christ said to "turn the other cheek" and to return evil with kindness. The problem is no one follows his teachings, not even those who claim to be Christians.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • Deuxdad

      Time machine not required. The stone age is alive & well in the middle east.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  3. Carl

    Here what I do not get about ISLAM. Mohammad is not Allah, and Muslim are so anti-Idol, but how in the world you would focus on earthly being like Mohammad to justify killing? It is not like she dissed Allah. To hold a earthly being as high as God to is blasphemy in itself (Hypocrisy).

    December 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  4. Doug Schrecengost

    Islam doing it's thing again. Good everyone is now seeing. All religions have history of the worst actions humanity has ever done to itself and the world. If someone doesn't like the way I view the world I would never hurt them or cut their head off, but, if they try to do violence to me I won't say a word, but only act in a moment. Be good to people; if you can.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm |

    ALL organized religion is bad. Here you have a cleric paying to kill, there are priests that molest kids, nuts kill because god told them to, then you have all the freaks claiming to spread the word of god. DID GOD COME DOWN AND TELL THEM THIS IS MY WORD? All organized religion does is cause nothing but problems. Its nothing more than a way to control the sheep.

    Why do we have to kill in the name of god or allah? Your telling me that your all powerful god can not do his own killing? What would god need you for anyway, I have no doubt that he IS ABLE to do all this stuff for himself.

    The Bible and all other holy books stretch the truth to the point of flat out lies.

    Christmas, well it is actually based on a pagen celebration, Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice.
    Jesus was NOT born on December 25th.

    Anyone that belongs to organized religion are nothing more than sheep that blindly follow the shepard.

    It all needs to be reigned in. You want to believe in all the crap, thats one thing, force it onto others, thats another and will not be tolerated.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
    • DurkaDurka

      Seems to me its the muslims who are saying "convert or die" not the christians... Do you even read the news?

      December 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
    • Donald Pennington

      How refreshing. Thank you.

      Don't sweat responding to durkadurka. He's just afraid he'll wake up to the fact that his god is a big, fat lie too.

      December 5, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
  6. Jesus

    Jesus: "Hey DAD"
    DAD: "Yes my son"
    Jesus: "Tell me again why you created man?"
    DAD: "It was a good idea at the time'"
    Jesus: "How's that working for you?"

    December 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  7. Donald Pennington

    محمد ، وأعني تحديدا الكريمة جميلة النبي محمد واستغرق الأمر حتى الحمار من الخنازير في حياته.
    محمد ، وأعني تحديدا الكريمة جميلة النبي محمد واستغرق الأمر حتى الحمار من الخنازير في حياته.

    يريدون قتل شخص بتهمة التجديف؟ أعطى مجرد قذرة الملتحي ، نذل الإبر dicked مثالا رائعا على الكفر. يأتي قتلي ، هيا.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • Cheryl

      your comment makes no sense at all.......what message are you trying to get across to everyone?

      December 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • Donald Pennington

      Well, if you don't read Arabic (and I don't either, that's Google translate) I guess it wouldn't.

      I was offering this cleric some more blasphemy for him to have me killed over, too.

      Funny how the "big tough man" has to have someone else do his murdering for him. Sorta like his phony god and his pig-loving prophet Muhammed.

      Did the translation not go through okay? I think I can find a way to get it to post in English, if you'd rather.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
    • Donald Pennington

      Here. Maybe this will get through:

      Muhammed, and I mean specifically the Precious Pretty Prophet Muhammed took it up the a$$ from pigs in his life.

      Thia a$$tard wants to kill someone for blasphemy? I just gave the dirty-bearded, nee/dle-dikked bast/ard a great example of blasphemy. Come kill me, come on.

      December 5, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • Muneef


      Well now your intentions of insult that you made , guess what awaits you for that? Read here the many translations made in English for just one Arabic verse;


      December 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  8. DanteX

    Perhaps "a price" should be put on the head of this IDIOT Moulana Yousaf Qureshi. This is EXACTLY why the RELIGION of Islam andpeople who CLAIM TO BE "Muslims" are viewed as negatively as they BOTH are.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • Carl

      You have to remember most of these clerics only have a basic education based on the Quaran. Most of the Clerics are not that bright outside their religious realm.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  9. Bill

    ummm, I don't understand your pointless posts. Are you trying to say that the Bible condones violence and death for blasphemy, so we accept that a Muslim Pakistani cleric sentences a woman to death for blasphemy? I don't think any Christian in their right mind supports that outdated mode of thinking. Most Christian regularly blaspheme, and you don't our courts condeming Christians to death for that. It's not part of the US, or Christian, legal code.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  10. Kris in AL


    December 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  11. conoclast

    A few weeks ago there was this questionaire - I think it was on CNN - on some of the history and basic tenets of christianity. Replies were solicited from both atheists and avowed christians; guess which group scored overwhealmingly higher? You got it: the atheists knew far more about religion in general than did the self-proclaimed christians! What does that say about the "True Believers"? It says to me that the true believers (remarkably like the tea-baggers) aren't interested in logic or fact - or anything that disagrees with their preconceptions. Yes, 1+1 maybe equals 2, but only if my preacher says so!

    December 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • DurkaDurka

      A poll on a news web site, not frequented by "teabaggers" leads me to believe the results are a tad skewed. Come back with a gallup poll or something with SOME credibility then post. LOL from a news web site, I had a good belly laugh when I read that. I guess if that all you can base your post on then so be it. It still does not hold any water.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  12. Bill

    Henry Lancaster – read your history, please so you don't look like an idiot. The Inquisition was a Catholic response to the Reformation (Protestantism). There was no Protestant Inquisition.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  13. JRH

    "Buddhists" don't set themselves on fire as a regular part of practice, of that I assure you. No more so than most muslims kill people for being Christians or Jews. It's the lunatic fringe that does things like that, no matter what label they have attached to them.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  14. TamarS

    Moulana Yousaf Qureshi is one ignorant uneducated cleric, isn't he? Here's a clear example of a man only ediucated in one source. He obviously doesn't understand the concept religious tolerance. may many pakistani's continue to defy him, protect her.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  15. Bill

    All you Christian haters carck me up. You are so blind to the intolerance, hatred and extremism inherent in Islam. A blatent act of hatred is perpetrated by a cleric of Islam and all you can do is talk about how violent and hateful Christians are. Think of the media outrage if a bishop or priest put a bounty on a Muslim, or even another Christian, who blasphemed (an act that occurs ever second of every day). They would have been rightly excoriated in the media.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • JRH

      Two words for you Bill: Spanish Inquisition

      Read your history (even very recent history, wherein "Christians" in the USA have advocated the killing of abortion providers) before you start getting all defensive about your religion.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  16. Chris

    If anyone claims that 500,000 rupees for beheading her, I'll pay 1,000,000 rupees for the head of that person. Gladly. I'll through in a donkey too.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  17. Dorothea7

    This is about a woman being condemned for speaking her mind one day, and everybody jumps on religion, all the while going to other forums and praising Assange. Way to go folks, ignore what is really going on here while you vent your anti-religious spleens. Admittedly, Fundamentalist Islam is very much against freedom of speech, but not all Muslims condemn this woman, while a whole lot of you who profess no religion aren't saying word one in her defense.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • Chris

      I'll pay 1,000,000 rupees for the cleric's head. Then I'll stuff it inside a dead pig and leave it out to rot. And I'll p1ss on it. May be set fire to it. I'm taking suggestions.

      December 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  18. athiests suk too

    religion is not the problem, people are the problem. There are bad people that are religious and not religious.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • Nguyen

      athiests suk too. Religions are the problem too.They teaches violence in bible.

      December 6, 2010 at 12:42 am |
  19. John

    How about someone offerring a bounty on the cleric's head. It would be a blessing to allah to rid the world of him.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  20. bremen3011

    Islam, your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.

    December 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
    • bremen3011

      This also applies to Muhammad as well.

      December 5, 2010 at 6:52 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.