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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. Bobby

    According to people on this page, either you follow corrupt religion or you have materialism/atheism/science.. Neither meets my needs.. Life without Spirit, life seems as dead as a city without people..

    December 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  2. Minbar

    Like most great ideas, religion began as an agency to lift people out of ignorance, but planted another vacuous idea in people's heads, and they can't think for themselves now. The Old Testament and its scary, punitive God is alive and well. Religions teach people NOT TO QUESTION their scripture. And that has led to blind faith and PHD's in religious "scholarship"! "Allah is merciful" BUT he will smite you for your land or beliefs.
    Now: religions and their schistic branches are about fear, FALSE HOPE, and MONEY!
    Religions are about "US" and "THEM" and "THEM" pay the price of
    "OUR" good life. Then religions mostly give to their own, and those who might join the belongers–hoping for a bite, a community, and some relief from poverty and powerlessness. Then they join and become the oppressors.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Religion was not invented to lift anyone anywhere. Spiritual practices go back well before any kind of organized society. Early hunter gatherers looked for explanations for things they did not understand and they had some believe in life after life. When towns began to crop up so did amalgamating of beliefs. The Jews as Jews did not exist until well after they claim to have. There were no Jews in existence when the pyramids were being built by paid laborers. There was just a bunch of tribal hunter gatherers. The Torah is being modified to be consistent with the work of archaeology and textual analysis.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  3. image42

    "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" – Jesus

    December 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
    • Eric

      Yet another crazy person, LOL!!!!!!!

      December 5, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • chelseykia

      Eric : Jesus was speaking of the battle that will occur (and is occurring) between the people who pick up His cross (follow him) and who will be persecuted for it.

      Matthew 17:34 : Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

      "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes...

      ..."There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

      Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

      Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

      Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

      December 5, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  4. Omac

    notice how the muslims and liberals turn every article about something bad that islam does into a debate about christianity but they will never condemn islam

    December 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
    • Jason

      I just posted almost the exact same thing in another article. It's truly funny. Someone posted a comment criticizing Islam (and not mentioning Christianity or their own beliefs at all), and two liberals jumped with a veritable "oh yeah? well Christianity blah blah blah". It was pretty amusing. They are incapable of criticizing Islam. All they know how to do is bash Christianity or religion as a whole.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      I can criticize Islam but Muslims are not posting their narrow views here. Crowds of Muslims are not spewing their historical and biblical ignorance for us. Thus, it is the Christians who are being spoken to.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Eric

    A crazy Islamic Cleric does something stupid and this post turns into Christian bashing.

    Crazy world, crazy people.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  6. Dave

    The "religion of peace" at its best.
    It's funny how that Florida pastor got wrath from arround the world, but no one seems to be "offended" by this animal openly calling for murder in the name of that so called "religion of peace".
    It's time to WAKE UP.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • Eric

      They are cowards & bullys. Christians are taught to turn the other cheek.

      If they want to show how brave they are they should post something bad about the Muslim prophet or their god and then post their real name & address. But first they need to make sure they have good insurance.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      What are you talking about! People are outraged around the world including Pakistan. Is CNN your only source of how the world outside the US feels.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  7. Sick and tired of Islam

    The koran preaches killing of people of other religions, abusing or killing women and the mosques are the breeding ground for this type of hatred and disrespect. The punk they worship is a pedophile. What you do to fix this problem is bulldoze all mosques, outlaw sharia law and give these psychos and pedophile worshipers a deportation for one count of wife beating, with daily waterboarding, and de. That'll straighten them all up. They're long overdue. How can you put people who worship pedophiles in charge of security of people, including women and children? Enough is enough. They've come to North America – and are pushing the envelope. Maybe they thing the "melting pot" means melting all other religions down to slush, by murdering others, I don't know but it's time to law down the law. Why does the free world put up with these goat molesters?

    December 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • Eric

      You need to understand something. So many people in this country hate Christianity so much that they will cut their nose off is spite of their face. This include siding with Islamic Radicals. It is really an odd way of thinking.

      This is nothing new. Christianity has been persecuted for centuries.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • Sick and tired of Islam

      Eric – good point, never thought of it that way. Maybe i'm just fuming over the situation of yet another woman victimized by another scripted-by-scripture psychopath in power. It's amazing that this guy can incite murder & get away with it, and meanwhile the non-believer, instead of being shunned from a community – she appears to now be marked for possible death by another (non)-religous psycho. Either way her face is put up in front of the whole world now. I'm done with this religion stuff.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  8. theLogical1

    Well, then I am putting a price on the Religious Cleric's Head. 0 dollars.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  9. SJG

    WHY ARE YOU SO SURPRISED WITH THIS "MULLA" BOUNTY OFFER?.
    IT IS " ISLAM " AND IT IS " PAKISTAN"– THE DEAREST AMERICAN FRIEND.

    THANKS - OBAMA. DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BE IN BED WITH THIS ISLAM? AND THIS IS THE ONLY ISLAM YOU HAVE .

    GOOD LUCK

    December 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  10. danfromsac

    Islam: truly the religion of the enlightened and the peaceful!

    December 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
    • JoAnn

      So many comments on here about how awful religion is. Christians do try hard to be kind and loving to others. No matter what some atheist says, Christianity will be around long after your gone. I have total faith in that.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  11. trying2save

    So there is no limit to what these loony clerks can do and to what lengths they go to. This is getting more and more ridiculous by the day.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  12. Tanya

    The GOP have voted today against extending the UC benefits for the unemployed people who need that meagre money to buy food and necessities. GOP spit on them and call themselves Christians.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
    • thorrsman

      You mean the lazy clods who have not bothered to find a job in 2 years because they knew the government would take care of them? No sympathy for moochers.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  13. conoclast

    To the "SILVER STATE MILITIA" Address: The Woodwork. I know another militia that would looove to meet up with you guys for some...er, wargames. They're out of San Francisco, headquartered in a bar on Polk St. Real MANly place, with lots of folks just like you! Drop in sometime for a Shirley Temple and we'll talk tactics!

    December 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  14. Curious

    So Asia Bibi is in jail and sentenced to death because she supposedly insulted Mohammed, which is a crime in Pakistan.
    Quick question: Is offering money to KILL SOMEONE a crime in Pakistan??
    If so, when can we expect to see this cleric hauled off to jail?

    December 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  15. Cheryl

    Pretty scary! What is even more terrifying is if any Muslim that practices Islam.....has a grudge against any Christian....what's stopping them from making a false claim against a Christian, of blasphemy? They could go around the country pointing out every Christian and accuse them and they would all get life imprisonment or death. Death sentences .........all on account of Religion!!! I for one am fed up with Religion of any kind.........I think it was made up to control people.......control women.....control children........control whole countries. I think the world would be better off just teaching people right from wrong, good from bad, teach peace and love. Forget Religion! The people that preach religion always end up preaching fear, hate, prejudice, etc...... They always stray from teaching love and peace. 😛

    December 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  16. The Queen

    A lot of free-living criminals running around out there sure should be beheaded(my way, w/ that old-timey guilotine), but definitely not that innocent woman who commited no crime! GET REAL!

    December 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  17. Cronus

    An FYI to all you non-religious folks, Atheists have been responsible for some of the most heinous crimes against humanity, particularly this past century. You are just as guilty as everybody else. so don't throw stones. Secondly, Islamic based terrorist is much more widespread and much more violent compared to other faiths. This cleric's call for the murder of a Pakistani Christian woman is a symptom of what is happening to Islam. Moderate Muslims seem to be unable to stop this slide. You got to call it as you see it.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  18. George

    I meant bounty in my previous post.. sorry..

    December 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  19. Susan

    Once again the religion of peace shows its true colors. That cleric is EVIL, He should be executed for such blasphemy as pretending to be a man of God.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  20. jon Bin landen

    Pakistani are mentally sick, and unstable people, since 1947 they have produced fanatics and most evil people..Is Islam religion? joke

    December 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • vincent

      LOOK at your name jon Bin Landen

      December 6, 2010 at 1:37 am |
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About this blog

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.