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. Enoch

    They kill Children of God, they burn down mother nature, they turn fertile lands unto deserts. Why do Muslims abuse life? Why do they hate WATER?

    December 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  2. chelseykia

    The Pakistani cleric will answer to this in due time – if there is one thing he does not realize, it is that you cannot frighten or threaten a holy woman with heaven.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  3. Bill

    Simple solution – just put a bounty on this cleric's head, 100x the price he put on the Christian's head. See who dies first.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  4. Omac

    Quran (48:29) – "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves" Islam is not about treating everyone equally. There are two very distinct standards that are applied based on religious status.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  5. Faisal


    December 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  6. Omac

    i challenge anyone to find one verse in the new testament that tells Christians to kill non believers or anyone for that matter. if a christians kills they are not really a christian. but the quran tells muslims to kill and kill again

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

    Quran (3:151) – "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority". This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be 'joining companions to Allah').

    December 5, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  8. MJ

    Odd. In Pakistan you can be sentenced to death or life in prison for disrespecting some mythical deity but a cleric can solicit murder in front of hundreds of witnesses and he's ok. Go figure.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  9. JSB

    The wolrd would be a much better place if everyone who believes in any religion walks into the ocean and drowns!

    December 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  10. TellMeNoLies

    The Bible says the same kinds of things about people who don't worship the one true god....it even tells you you to kill people who try to convert you....the difference is that we have grown as a society and we no longer murder people for what they believe....islam hasn't caught up with the rest of us....it's a problem and threat to the civilized word.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • Omac

      where does it say anywhere for a christian to kill in the new-testament? start reading and struggling for a verse. christians didnt exist in the old testament.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
    • Eric

      Christianity is based off the new testament. Nowhere does it say it ok to kill someone.

      I know what your going to post back:

      1. I have read the New Testament: No, you have not

      2. Christians kill people every day or have killed thousands: – They were not acting in the name of Christianity. Nowhere in the new testament does it say it is OK to kill someone.

      3. What about the Crusades: - Your are most likely a Muslin. They are the only ones who bring something up that happened long ago and is not relevant today.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • chelseykia

      Tellmenolies, the Old testament is why the New Testament happened.

      The price of sin and the blood that is needed to be washed (the offering of every firstborn of animals). The religious crimes happening in Iran is a mere glimpse of what occurred thousands of years ago, in the very same soil. It is a record of the relationship that God has with these people.

      This is why Jesus was sacrificed, and why we are able to live in modern times now. There was a reason why God gave His firstborn for offering (Jesus); God sacrificed his son. All of us would never know the full weight of this action, but you can find the direct parallel between Jesus's death and the old times, and why sacrifices are done. It is a law that none of us could ever hope to comprehend, but it is done, hence why Jesus said," it is finished."

      The Old testament is finished – thus, starts the New Testament.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      You are wrong. The schism between the West and the East, the creation of the Iron Curtain, occurred because of the way the Christians behaved. I am not a Muslim. I am just formally educated in History. I have my Bible from being raised in the Baptist Church and reading the thing every year as well as studying every book in detail. Some of what you say is true but that does not mean that all Christians believe the same things. We are discussing religions not actually the books they are based on. So history and the variety of things people believer are salient.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  11. Buckup

    bring back Baal then we can have the good old days of innocent human sacrifice, a great religion we ignore at our peril. But framing this woman for a crime against mohamed, not alla, is close. Baal may suspend his wrath for another 13 moons.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  12. Tom R

    It realy is a shame that people are willing to kill over a myth. If there was a god the world would be a very different place.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  13. Omac

    number of people executed in the spanish inquisition At least 1080,-–Monthly Jihad Report
    November, 2010
    Jihad Attacks:



    Dead Bodies:

    Critically Injured:

    December 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • PR

      Thank you Omac, but people dont see this, they belive that their religion is THE good one. All the "bad" they do is in name of Love and God. One can kill if kills in name of God as long as they don't kill people of my religion beacuse my religion is the True religion my religion has the TRUE god.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
    • Eric

      Christianity is based off the new testament. Nowhere does it say it is to kill. The people involved in the Spanish Inquisition were sinning and not following what Jesus Preached. In a nutshell they were just murderers and not Christians.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Eric. You can say the same thing about Christians that are said about Muslims. There are radicals and there are fine and decent people. You can say the same about political leanings. There are vicious folk and there are loving folk. The nasty ones are drawn to radicalism, fundamentalism. I believe that the worst of the Fundamentalist Christians are afraid. They do not trust their salvation will come unless they bend over backward. They are not trusting Jesus. They seek brownie points in Heaven by trying to destroy not just Muslims but less radical Christians as well. I have heard the United Church called a mere club, like the Elks, because they are not strict enough. If you are truly sure of your salvation then you do not need to beat people in the face with it all the time.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  14. idecomp

    Now wouldn't it be ironic if someone put a 1,000,000 rupe bounty on his head. Do you think then that he would be able to see thru the eyes of the woman?

    December 5, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  15. John Jackson

    The way some people exploit religion is an atrocity. But then, I guess things have been that way every since religions were created. It's makes me sick to the bottom of my soul. That cleric should be stripped of his role and to go and work for a living.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • Jason


      December 5, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  16. Doba

    As someone who studies Islam as a grad student, I have great respect and love for the religion and the many wonderful Muslims I am happy to have in my life. This cleric, however, appears to be an unmitigated mother f-ker. Hopefully he gets a drone in the dome.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • wang long

      This cleric man isn't the only one who wants this woman dead. There is the youtube video in which a bunch of villagers were asked whether the want the woman dead, and I saw all hands up.

      December 6, 2010 at 12:41 am |
  17. laboom

    I think one thing that has been overlooked by most of the other comments is why the hell does a cleric of a religion that is supposed to not even have a hierarchy have $6000, which as the article pointed out is more than 6 times what the average Pakistani makes in a year, to throw around...

    December 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  18. Pablo Pena

    Absolutely sickening. I hope someone puts a price on this Cleric's head. And for all those people who say "this is the result of religion" ahem. So the Nazis are proof that all Govts are inherently evil? I like the logic. One Gov't does bad ALL Govt's are bad. One religion advocates murder for hire ALL of them do. Got Logic?

    December 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • Tom R

      If i had money I would

      December 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • PR

      Agree Pablo, not all religions are like that only some. Not all religions kill if you don't join them only some. Please Pablo name some religion who did not go through this process in the past or present.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  19. PR

    Solution to this problem:
    lets kill everyone (in name of love and god) who does not agree with our religion. Almsot all religions (and fanatic organizations) encourage this thinking (Christianity, muslims, comunism, nazis)
    Oops I made a mistake I found one exeption: atheist.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  20. jefffbo

    Another violent, satanic , Islamic act.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:52 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.