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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. OO

    If he wants her dead that bad. Why does he do it himself.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
    • SPA

      Nice call, OO – because he is a pu**y and will simply brainwash wek individuals – all religious peopl are – to do his absurd dirty work for him. good call

      December 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  2. Saddiq

    Mohammed is an imposter! He copied what Jesus did 600 years after the fact – basically it is a cult with numbers!

    How on earth the Western world think it should be teaming up with pre-historic Pakistan is beyond me!

    Inbred low-gene-poolers!

    December 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  3. Amrullah Yousafzai, Margalla Hills

    A lot of people [unsurprisingly] are using this to spread or justify hatred of Islam. I believe that is a bad idea as Muslims are not one monolithic group. Many of us Pakistanis hate the blasphemy law as well. This includes some politicians such as former information minister Sherry Rehman. It is better to support them rather than alienate the entire nation or all Muslims.

    Pakistan didn't start out like this. Our founder MA Jinnah respects the religious minorities of Pakistan and said "You may belong to any religion, caste or creed –that has nothing to do with the business of the State." He also said that Pakistan would not be a theocracy.
    The current blasphemy law is a remnant of Zia-ul-Haq's 'Islamic' provision that were passed in an era when the anti-Soviet jihad was taking place which Pakistan was a part of. After Zia mysteriously died in a plane crash, the successive politicians of Pakistan removed many of the laws he had passed, but some of them still remain to this day.
    ☾☆ I AM A DIRTY PAKI AND PROUD OF IT! ☾☆
    ☾☆ پاکستان زنداباد☾☆

    December 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  4. whatnext

    "Wake up sheeple!" Wake up, you brainless drone.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  5. Omac

    this cleric is not a radical but doing as the quran instructs, the quran is meant to be taken literally as the divine word of god.
    Question:

    Does Islam command that those who insult the religion should be put to death?

    Summary Answer:

    Under Sharia, those who insult Muhammad or Allah are to be put to death. So are those who desecrate the Qur'an, or commit other acts of blasphemy. This tradition began with Muhammad, as recorded in the Hadith and by his biographers. There is also a Qur'anic basis for it.

    The Qur'an:

    Qur'an (6:93) – "Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah?" (Apparently not the adulterer or others for whom death is proscribed).

    Qur'an (33:57) – "Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah hath cursed them in this world and the Hereafter, and hath prepared for them the doom of the disdained"

    Qur'an (33:61) – [continues from above] "Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter."

    December 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
    • Henry Miller

      Thereby proving that Islam is as complete a bit of insanity as any other religion.

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

      Followers of Hilter said the same thing "We were just following orders!" If that's your only defense to killing elderly christians, and bribing followers to lop off the head of someone with an opinion different than yours, then it's time for the world to wake up and smell the evil emanating from you and Islam.

      December 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
    • Prometheus

      I just HATE IT when I am lackadaisically slaughtered...that's the WORST!

      December 6, 2010 at 2:42 am |
  6. Amrullah Yousafzai, Margalla Hills

    Why couldn't all Pakistani girls be like her?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JfggTjKmUk

    December 5, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  7. mechatronics

    More peaceful action from the muslims.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  8. SPA

    Nice people

    December 5, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  9. shinden58

    I think someone need to put the same price on Moulana Yousaf Qureshi. See how he like it.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
    • mel

      You forget these are the only things that keep millions of muslims from leaving this cult – violence and the threat of it – they are not free to leave. Islam is a real life "Hotel California".

      December 5, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  10. Jon Doe

    Religion this..religion that..spiritual relationship is what most are trying to attain..The cleric albeit radical in nature, probably deserves whatever is coming to him..Not simply becuz of his heinous crime(soliciting murder) but becuz of his obvious lack of moral code(he sounds like he would sell his mother to a pimp for 25 rupees) remorse is non-existant for this brainwashed culture..but to offer cash for the execution of a helpless woman is upsetting in any language..and something needs to be done to protect her

    December 5, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  11. image42

    The bible tells you when to stone your children and for that matter your whole family Omac. Read it and be more informed about the book your religion covets before claiming that only Islam encourages attrocites.

    (See Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

    December 5, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
    • Omac

      and these people were Christians? i dont think jesus was even born yet when that was written.....try again. there is no verse in the new testament that tells Christians to kill anyone, now lets see if you try just as hard to find one in the quran

      December 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
    • mel

      Difference is we dont see this as instruction – it is a history of more prmitive times, even the old testament has stages of evolution.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  12. Omac

    The Qur'an:

    Qur'an (2:282) – Establishes that a woman's testimony is worth only half that of a man's in court (there is no "he said/she said" gridlock in Islam).

    Qur'an (24:4) – "And those who accuse free women then do not bring four witnesses (to adultery), flog them..."

    Qur'an (24:13) – "Why did they not bring four witnesses of it? But as they have not brought witnesses they are liars before Allah."

    December 5, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
    • SPA

      Liars before Allah. and mickey mouse. and the boogey man.
      frigging joke. all religion is a joke. except that people die because of religion – and that isnt funny

      December 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  13. Jackel

    Sounds as though Moulana Yousaf Qureshi is getting enought lately.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
  14. George

    We are engaged in the final battle between good and evil that all the Christian nuts have been waiting for, and that is this war between Islam and the civilized world.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  15. Frank519

    Yes, the relgion of peace strikes again. Perhaps the way is to not allow any Pakistanis into this country, pull out all support financial and the like, and let them descend into civil war.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  16. George

    We need to stop name calling (bigot, racist, islamaphobe, etc.) and do the right thing for America and your grandchildren's grandchildren and that is we must demand an end to Muslim immigration into the United States. This is a necessary war measure. A large percentage of so called moderate Muslims support the use of suicide bombings and we are talking about millions of people, not just some fringe element. Do not let the name callers stop you from demanding your legislators take action now before it is too late.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
    • planet2012

      Americans must rise up and take back our country. Sympathizers too bad..too sad. It's time now.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
  17. planet2012

    Like I've said before...drain them of their oil and send them back to the stone age.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  18. Abdulameer

    The official name of Pakistan is "The Islamic Republic of Pakistan". Under Islamic Shariah law, blasphemy is punishable by death. In an "Islamic Republic", religious law becomes state criminal law. A religious sin becomes a punishable crime. Notice that the Pakistani government is hugely embarrassed by this case, but its approach is to say that the woman was not guilty, rather than saying that the law against blasphemy should be abolished.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  19. Ummm what was i thinking

    Hey ummm nice post. Now you should finish actually reading that book and see what the new testament says. Taking stuff out of context is always fun isn't it?

    December 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  20. Astute Observer

    What this shows is just how intolerant and fifth century the _I s l a m i c_ culture is. Their idol was a _p e d o p h i l e_ and should be classified as a cult.

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

      Seventh century. Muhammad delivered the Koran from 610-632.

      December 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
    • mel

      He delivered it alright... and no one asked any questions. "You have being hearing voices in a cave, after how many days fasting? Angel Gabriel you say... I believe you...."

      December 5, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
    • SPA

      Hey astute – all religions are "fifth century". give me a break

      December 5, 2010 at 10:05 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.