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

    "heres what muslims have done recently in the name of islam ..."

    One could argue that the organizations behind those attrocities are as muslim as the organizations listed here are christian http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorism

    December 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Omac

      you are either a liberal or a muslim since you are playing the muslim game, there is no verse in the new testament that tells Christians to kill, now i would like you to admit that the quran tells muslims to kill, cut off fingers heads and so on. just admit it. its not that hard......but you love the muslim game and thats try to bring a religion down to the level of islam instead of just saying islam is bad news

      December 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  2. mel

    NM – your website listed said "“Islam and fun?” you may raise your eyebrows. “What an oxymoron!”
    No, it isn't an oxymoron, not if the words are Islam and fun-damentalist.
    Muslims need to have a drink and chill out once and a while. Maybe then it might less prone to blowing things up.

    Fun, don't make me laugh.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • mel

      Also there is the word "mental" in "fundamentalist".

      "Fund a mentalist!"
      "I slam" – violence
      Islam is lame.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  3. mokicat

    The religion of peace advocating more violence. Islam is a cancer on the body of humanity

    December 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
  4. sto1155

    Try rationalizing it all you want those who hate America and Western civilization. But: Islam is evil and barbaric. Your cute rationalizations and "logic" fails when empirical evidence alone counts. Islamic nuts flew planes into buildings for the sake of Islam. Islamic nuts want to return to the 12th century for the sake of Islam. Islamic "scholars" call for jihad almost every day.
    They can't get along with Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or Secular countries. They are a cult, bent on a world wide Caliphate.
    And last but not least, an Islamic "Theocracy" controls Iran, a country begging for the 3rd through 30th use of nuclear weapons. The Islamic nuts are begging for war, and we should teach those 12th century fools the meaning of "Be careful what you wish for".

    December 5, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  5. Jouelle

    Killing in the name of God is the ultimate blasphamy.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
    • SPA

      it's spelled "blasphemy" and i am amazed at just how many people believe in the fairy tale that is "god" or a supreme being or mohammed or allah or whatever mickey mouse name you want to give it. you really want to believe in some supreme being dictating life, go for it, but keep it to yourself. it's enough already

      December 5, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  6. mel

    The secularists are having a field day again I see. Comparing Christianity with Islam is as idiotic as comparing Pantheism with Atheism, they are very different belief systems. Most Christians don't read the Bible literally – we don't stop those that do, it is a free world. All we can do is persuade and guide. Picking random passages from a book of someone else's religion and saying "Ah ha, I know what that's meant to mean" is equally daft. Most religions are a lot more sophisticated than meets the eye. For example, most Christians realise the Old Testament is 1/3 history (ie not an instruction manual on how to do wrong), 1/3 poetic (open to use as allegory) and 1/3 prophecy (even more open to more metaphorical interpretation). It is the work of hundreds of writers, inspired by God but not dictaphones for God. Islam doesnt allow for as much leeway as it is meant to the literal word of God.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • SPA

      if muslims, or christians, or jews, or whatever religion you want to name wants to believe in the fairy tale of a supreme being (literally the stuff of childen's stories) then do it and stop pushing your make believe on others and actually killing, blaming, persecuting them. enough already with this made up garbage

      December 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  7. NM

    please check out http://www.islamicsolutions.com/if-it-is-extreme-it-is-not-islam/

    December 5, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • SPA

      then why do not all of these peacful muslims stand up to these nut extremists? why dont they squash these sory excuses for humans who are defaming such a peaceful, loving religion?

      December 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  8. Womnderfool

    form any citizen, religious or otherwise, offering reward for killing another citizen should be regarded as a criminal inciting a crime and should be put away – no, not by death but by isolation is a deserted island with no food or drinking water. Putting him to death would be humaninitaran – he does not deserve it. And any Moslem who defends this cleric should be sent to a metla asylum to leave among really mentally challenged people.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  9. how can we help

    Is there a way people in America can help this woman? Can we give her and her family political asylum? I'm happy to chip in.
    Also, I would be happy to chip in for the head of the cleric who is making such a big deal of wanting her dead. It seems crazy that a religious figure would have access to that kind of money and want to spend it on killing someone, rather than doing something nice with the money.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • SPA

      Just goes to prove that being a "religious figure" is bs. from muslim cleric to priest that molests little boys – it is all BS and for some reason society continues to treat these people as special

      December 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  10. Omac

    heres what muslims have done recently in the name of islam. now lets see a post of what those crazy christians did in same time period......
    2010.12.05 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Four Holy Warriors shoot an elderly Christian couple to death in their home.
    2010.12.05 (Gardez, Afghanistan) – A Shahid suicide bomber detonates near a small marketplace, taking four innocents with him.
    2010.12.04 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Two Shia pilgrims are sent to Allah by Sunni car bombers.
    2010.12.04 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Terrorists bomb a marketplace, leaving at least a half dozen shoppers dead.
    2010.12.04 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Five Shia pilgrims from Iran are brutally slain by Sunni bombers near a shrine.
    2010.12.03 (Narathiwat, Thailand) – Muslim terrorists shoot a Buddhist to death in his home.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
    • PR

      any more restrictions beside time period?

      December 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  11. dniq

    I think religion in general should be outlawed and treated, like schizophrenia, by mental specialists.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • SPA

      amen to that. at least the extremists. if someone wants to follow the ten commandments and it makes them feel better to pray and believe there is some afterlife – then let them have at it as long as they dont push those beliefs on others...in any way...the pushing of beliefs on others – in any form – is where the problem lies...

      December 5, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  12. image42

    For every "nut job" muslim there is a corresponding jew or christian. The majority of followers in all those religions will probably tell you that their religion is one of peace. Religious writings are like statistics. Each reader puts his or her own spin on it to suit their needs.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • George

      I'm afraid the Islamic claim to peace has played itself out quite violently on the world stage, and we aren't talking about the middle ages here, but now, every day in every part of the world, not Christianity, not Judaism, not Buddhism, not Hinduism....Islam.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  13. lostmind

    If we could only see what the original people saw when they saw God then maybe with the knowledge we have acquired as a human race, we would be able to understand what was seen then; maybe we would be able to comprehend the meaning of what was told to us those 2000 years or more ago.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • SPA

      Nobody saw god 2000 yrs ago because, news flash, there is no god. it is all made up stories to answer questions people could not answer because of their scientific ignorance. it is all BS made up to make people feel better about the afterlife. a lot of it is good – love thy neighbor and all that stuff. the problem is, much of it is simply not followed and many of the most religious people i know are hypocrites. it is all BS taken too far but nutso extremists and the "good" of those religions sit idly by while the extremists go off. see muslims...see right wing christians killing abortion doctors, etc...the list goes on and on...

      December 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  14. Rudy

    ...A Cleric..(So called holy man)... paying to Murder someone??? sic... When have you ever heard a Christian seek to murder someone for taking Gods name in Vain? ONLY IN ISLAM...the sad thing is, if any moderate Muslims protest they get killed to.. ha...something Christianity doesn't have a problem wth

    December 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  15. 4sanity

    Religious persecution and its justification for murder has a long history and isn't restricted to Islam. Between 40,000-100,000 people (mostly women) were executed in Europe's and America's Catholic/puritanical witch hunts that didn't cease until the mid-18th century. And witch hunts are rampant in parts of Africa. Mass religious hysteria where "true believers" will forsake simple human decency is an all too common theme with ALL the world's religions – past and present.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • Rudy

      4sanity May I see you're Sources for . Between 40,000-100,000 being executed? My history said, that they had a option to go free, if they sold out other people who involved, and if they did they were able to go free, and that there was a very small number of people who actually ended up dying at the stake.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • Omac

      you must be a muslim apologist, you know right away instead of condemning muslims for killing 1 million christian Armenians in a genocide you make up false numbers and say christianity did this so its ok for islam too. the most that died in the spanish inquisition was only about 1000 people. a drop in the bucket compared to 1 million

      December 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  16. Omac

    remember no one has ever killed for christ, not one time since christ has never asked for anyone too in the new-testament. but the quran over and over demands that people be killed. there is no message of universal love and peace in the quran like the new testament

    December 5, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  17. David in Canada

    If it wasn't so sad in reality, I would be laughing at all the idiots who fight for religious reasons... ESPECIALLY Jews, Christians and Muslims.... if y'all didn't realize it yet... they all pray to the same God... they are all "Abrahamic" religions that are based on a "One God" concept.
    They just have different "add-ons" to the same basic belief... based on people who have followed Abraham and have spoken the word of God... Christians have Jesus, Muslims have Mohammed... in the end... same God.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • Omac

      no they dont pray to the same god, the Christian god has a son called jesus, the muslim god does not have a son. if they were the same god they would both have a son or not a son. the muslim god calls on msulims to kill jews and christians and the jewish god does not call on jews to kill themselves and so on.
      so you are mistaken

      December 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  18. Omac

    "O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who
    are near to you, and let them find harshness in you,
    and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty"
    Qur'an, Sura 9:123

    December 5, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  19. FNietzsche

    What century are we living in again? She's been given a death sentence for...."blasphemy"? Really? Blasphemy is a victim-less crime. Can't we ship all of these religious nut jobs (and I'm referring to ALL religions) out to the Kuiper Belt? I think that would be a good use of our tax dollars. Or perhaps we could start a new charity. Instead of "For 25 cents a day, you could feed a hungry child", it could be "For 25 cents a day, you could send a hyper-religious whacko into deep space."

    December 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  20. T Kealey

    I'll pay US $20 to anyone that throws their shoes at the guy.

    December 5, 2010 at 8:43 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.