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. image42

    "when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion." –

    December 5, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
    • Jason

      What a pointless comment. Nothing better to do, troll?

      December 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
    • SPA

      Amen image42 – amen

      December 5, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  2. The Virginian

    The nuts always kill in the name of Christ, that is not what He taught. He had compassion on the people but dispised those who lorded their suppoised knoledge over the people.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  3. layne25348

    I'm sick of hearing about the Crusades, what was that like 800 years ago. That goes for burning witches over 300 years ago. How about some more modern examples of how Christianity is violent. Lone nut jobs don't count.

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

      Also, people act like atheists would've been little angels. Unprovable heresay. And half of the stuff committed by Christians and many other groups historically was do to all sorts of things not limited to religion at all, like race, culture, etc. Heck, even the witch hunts could make sense to anyone who didn't understand science (irrespective of religion). Something bad happened? Don't know why? Wanna blame it on someone? Witch! But yeah, it was all those pesky Christians' fault...lol *rolls eyes*.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • SPA

      Hey Jason – religion, as a whole, has done far more harm than good. You want to do the right thing and be a good person – you dont need religion to do the right thing. has nothing to do with a made up god or deity. it has to do with common sense and behiving in a moral way. you dont need religion to have morals.
      every major war has been due, at its core, to religious beliefs. look it up

      December 5, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  4. Specter

    This is why God punishes them with natural disasters, hunger,war and pestilence.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
    • SPA

      yep – god does all those things. he is a very powerful thing.
      what is pestilence, anyway? locusts? bugs? give me a break...

      December 5, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  5. herb

    Edwin,i do agree that so called Christian leaders have a lot to answer for but in all honesty i do not recall the last time a Christian leader put a bounty on some one calling for their death.Maybe wrong about that but it seems to me that the Islamic Leaders are kind of kill you now and sort it out later.They tell everyone about the beauty of Islam but i thought the beauty of Religion was to Love and help one another and Love the Lord, might be wrong about that one to.Take care.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  6. Chuck

    I wonder what Joy Behar would say? Is this Islam or radical Islam? I know it's only blasphemy when someone criticizes Islam not when Islam criticizes anyone non Islamic. I wish that people like Joy would understand that if you cannot criticize something due too fear of retribution it's called oppression. Islam, radical Islam, you say tomato and I say tomato, oh Joy let's call the whole thing off!

    December 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  7. Omac

    Unlike Jihad, the Crusades were never justified on the basis of New Testament teachings. This is why they are an anomaly, the brief interruption of centuries of relentless Jihad against Christianity that began long before the Crusades and continued well after they were over.

    The greatest crime of the Crusaders was the sacking of Jerusalem, in which 30,000 people were said to have been massacred. This number is dwarfed by the number of Jihad victims, from India to Constantinople, Africa and Narbonne, but Muslims have never apologized for their crimes and never will.

    What is called 'sin and excess' by other religions, is what Islam refers to as the will of Allah.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      I am shocked at the level of your ignorance of easily discovered facts. I can only assume you do not want truths that mess with your short sighted and bigoted view of history. I bet you think the world was created 6,000 years ago and that there were dinosaurs on the Ark of Noah.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  8. love and peace

    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.

    Now in Sicily............this would be deemed a "Mafia" crime..........Why do we NOT arrest these clerics??? Are they beyond the Law???? Or does the Islamic religion condone a "hit" because of differing opinion of Mohammad!! ??? If so he is no better than the cleric who"ordered the hit"?!!

    December 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  9. Omac

    The Muslim Game:

    Muslims love talking about the Crusades… and Christians love apologizing for them. To hear both parties tell the story, one would believe that Muslims were just peacefully minding their own business in lands that were legitimately Muslim when Christian armies decided to wage holy war and "kill millions.”

    The Truth:

    Every part of this myth is a lie. By the rules that Muslims claim for themselves, the Crusades were perfectly justified, and the excesses (though beneath Christian standards) pale in comparison with the historical treatment of conquered populations at the hands of Muslims.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Get a real education. Go to University and study with scholars. You are tossing about myths just as surely as anyone.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  10. image42

    "If you hear that in one of the towns, there are men who are telling people to go and worship other gods ... If it is proved and confirmed, you must put the inhabitants of that town to the sword" – The Bible (Deuteronomy 13:13-15)

    December 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • Motrek

      image42, do you know the difference between the old covenant (contract between God and mankind) and the new covenant?

      December 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • chelseykia

      And the parallel between the payment of sins in the Old Testament and God's sacrifice of Jesus in the New Testament?

      Image42, the Old Testament is why the New Testament happened. Thus:

      Jesus : "It is finished."

      December 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  11. chris

    I'll pay 20,000,000 dollars to the first person who turns the skull of Mohammad into ashtray!

    December 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  12. tom

    The irony would be for this cleric to be killed by some Christian as a result of his stupidity.....

    December 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  13. LR

    Muslims are adapting to Christianity...do unto others. They blow themselves up, and have decided that this means they should blow up everyone, under the Christian philosophy. The fact that they pervert that also doesn't figure in.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  14. makgroom

    oops, typ00. $12M

    December 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  15. Motrek

    To the muslims who may read this, I understand what a burden you are carrying. You have been taught that in order to escape hell fire you must strive to be perfect in obedience to what you believe are The God's commands. So you must be willing to even kill others if God commands in order to please God and somehow be accepted by him on the day of judgement. But even after all your efforts you can never be sure you are good enough. The day of judgement will be terrifying for you. But what Jesus, the Christ, taught is that no one is good enough. No one ever could be. What God has been trying to get across to us is to let go of our own false sense of righteousness. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. How can we who have fallen short ever make up for it? We can't. God knows this. He paid the penalty himself. What he wants is for us to simply come back to Him, receive His forgiveness, accept adoption as His children, and try our best to live the way Jesus showed us with the help Jesus provides for us. There have been many, many people who called themselves "Christian" who because of ignorance or sinful hypocracy did not follow Christ. I am deeply sorry that there have been so many bad representatives of Christ. But I am so grateful for Christ and what he did for me and for all who will receive him. Humbly acknowledge that you can never be good enough to merit heaven. Heaven is being offered to you and all mankind freely. Submitting to Christ in honest need is the true submission.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • makgroom

      unbrainwashing the brainwashed (clearly not only Muslims) is wasting time if you're not a professional at it. Appealing to the afflicted makes them dig in deeper to their convictions.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • layne25348

      you must be a blast to hang out with

      December 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • Motrek

      layne25348, do you understand what I wrote?

      December 5, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      This kind of spewing is the very reason so many dislike Evangelical Christians. You just cannot shut up. Instead of seeking understanding you take this as an opportunity to preach. Jesus did tell his followers to spread his word. He also said that if people reject the gospel they should leave, shake the dust from their shoes and leave. He never said flog it at every opportunity whether they like it or not.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
    • Motrek

      Spewing? If you are ashamed of the Gospel then you are, nothing I can do about that. Is the truth Christ preached offensive? It sure is, to some. Christians are called to be Christ's ambassadors, urging people to be reconciled to God. To extend this invitation we must be prepared in season and out of season, making the most of EVERY opportunity. I guess Jesus spent about 3.5 years doing a lot of "spewing". Does God consider you to be on His side? What about you would make Him think so, one way or another?

      December 6, 2010 at 7:34 am |
    • Motrek

      "Seeking understanding". Yes, I've spent some time doing that, going so far as to learn Arabic to better understand the Koran, going so far as to visit Muslim countries to hear and see for myself the spiritual conditions that people live under. It seems that you might be using this opportunity to strike back at people who offended you in the past. Maybe you were hurt by some particular flavor of Christian "religion". I was too. But I realized that Christ was not to blame for that. And He is still worth talking about at every opportunity.

      December 6, 2010 at 7:41 am |
  16. image42

    "So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds" – Jesus (Revelation 2:22-23)

    December 5, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • Omac

      so the mythical jesus is going to do that, but show me where the new testament calls on Christians to kill keep struggling looking for a verse, there are none. better yet lets see you post something critical of islam if you can

      December 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • chelseykia

      Why do you not look closer, and merely extract scripture out of context?

      The 'her' Jesus was referring to are the churches. Churches who blaspheme His name and mocks His heart, they will not go unpunished in due time. The book of Revelation speaks of the End, when Jesus comes ready for battle by bringing heaven down to Earth.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • Really?

      This verse was symbolic...he was speaking about the empire of false religion and the children would be her followers. When he speaks of committing adultery he is referring to false religion which he refers to as a harlot committing adultery with the political parties that benefit financially, etc from their relationship with her.

      December 6, 2010 at 1:08 am |
  17. makgroom

    Isn't there someone out there with $12K kicking around that could offer it as a bounty on this Cleric?

    December 5, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  18. Omac

    The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.<~~~~~~~the new testament (Christian) contains no verses asking christians to kill.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  19. Afell

    You know, religion doesn't kill people...it just gives some people an excuse to kill other people.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  20. Respondon

    I bit $6001 for Moulana Qureshi's life, and I'll throw in a Snuggle!

    December 5, 2010 at 8:14 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.