November 17th, 2010
11:23 AM ET

Pope calls for Pakistani Christian woman to be freed

Pope Benedict XVI called Wednesday for the release of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

He also spoke out about the "difficult situation of Christians in Pakistan," who suffer "discrimination and violence," at the end of his weekly general audience Wednesday.

Bibi was sentenced to death for insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed and for calling the Quran "fake" - a capital crime in Pakistan. She has filed an appeal and asked for bail, the chief prosecutor of Punjab province told CNN. The prosecutor, Chaudhry Muhammad Jahangir, said the appeal will be heard by the Lahore High court and a decision could be months away.

Pakistan has never executed someone convicted of blasphemy, he said, but he refused to predict the outcome of Bibi's appeal.


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Filed under: Pakistan • Religion • Vatican
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Jim Brieske

    I will take care of this.

    November 18, 2010 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Reynardine Greencastle

    This lady had a most improvident mouth, for which she might reasonably expect a punch or a slap delivered in someone's private capacity, but not a government-sponsored execution. Technically, our diplomatic corps has no weight in the matter, because this lady has no ties to American jurisdiction, but back channels ought to convey that because that nation's reputation already has begun to stink in our nostrils, we just might stand by while they are compelled to resume their old name... India

    November 18, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Abraham Lincoln

    Mo was uneducated. He never read or write. He was going in cave and smoking dope and talking to Allah. What you call this character ?

    November 18, 2010 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Abraham Lincoln

    President of Pakistan will commute the sentance of this lady. Hillary will jump up with joy and praise religious tolerance of Paki Satan and get busy writing check for $ billion aid. Ha li Lujjah

    November 18, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Don't talk about Pakistan that way! Sure, they've produced some wack jobs, but so has America! To call them the things you are is equal to the brain washing terrorists give!

      November 18, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Abraham Lincoln

    Mohmad was a shephrd and used to fvck goat. Muslim still practising.

    November 18, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. rich05

    i cant beleive they will kill an innocent women, only people who are not sure, and confident of their reliogion will act like this, bec they are scared thri religion will prove false

    i mean mohaqmed married a 6 year old gilr when he was 51 year old wht do u call such a person, he had more then 21 wifes and unlimited concubim=nes, and women slave

    what bad can u speak of such a person, whio was so disgusting

    November 18, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ricardo

    This women is an example for the rest of the world, she is keeping her religius faith over her life, her more fundamental rights have been violeted, the right to a due process, the right to defend herself, the right to freely expres herself, the right to not be afraid went speaking her mind, I belive that Pakistan is showing to the world the lack of respect that the sharia has for the more elemental pilar of a free justice and the importance of indivuality.

    Please CNN and bloggers you may have what it takes to put some pressure against the Pakistani goverment and managed to get the release of these woman

    November 18, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Samaritano

    Please Pope Benedict, do everything in your power to save this woman. In fact, I would beg you take to the forefront, a cause celebre, the plight of Christians brutally persecuted daily, particularly in Muslim countries, from the Coptics forced to live in the gargage dumps of Cairo to the Christians who are spat upon and publicly humiliated (freely referred to as pigs in public) in Iran. Why do the Church and Christian governments of the world sit idly by as this persecution is played out daily?

    November 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Samaritano

    A court in Nankana District (Punjab), 75 kilometres west of the provincial capital of Lahore, sentenced Asia Bibi, 45, to death for blasphemy. The sentence has not been carried out yet, but dozens of extrajudicial killings have been perpetrated by out-of-control mobs. Human rights activists note that the legislation itself encourages Islamic extremists in a country increasingly under Taliban attacks.

    The facts go back to June 2009. Asia Bibi, a farm worker, was asked to fetch water whilst out in the fields, working. A group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying she should not touch the water bowl because as a non-Muslim, she would make it impure.

    Later, some of the women tried to get Asia to forsake Christianity and convert to Islam. During the exchange, the Christian woman said that Jesus died on the cross for humanity’s sins, asking the Muslims women what Muhammad had done for them.

    A few days later, the Muslim women went to their local imam, and accused Asia Bibi of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. One of the women is the imam’s wife. The religious leader then went to the police to file a complaint.

    Asia Bib was arrested in the village of Ittanwalai under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which bans defaming the prophet and carries the death penalty.,-Muslims,-NGOs-mobilise-for-Asia-Bibi,-against-%E2%80%9Cobscene%E2%80%9D-blasphemy-law-19995.html

    November 19, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Samaritano

    Bibi’s sentence and the blasphemy legislation have also been criticised by Muslims. Muhammad Hafiz, an Islamic scholar, spoke to AsiaNews about it.

    “The death sentence of Asia Bibi came as a shock to me” because “Islam teaches us to protect religious minorities,” he said.

    “I have read the verdict; it is total injustice, Asia Bibi is innocent. She is a victim of personal rivalry. I strongly support the abolition of this discriminatory law. In the past few years, some fundamentalists have been using the blasphemy law as a weapon against the religious minorities.”

    To illustrate the point, he noted that, “Recently, two Christian brothers accused of writing a blasphemous pamphlet critical of Prophet Muhammad were shot dead outside a courthouse in Punjab. Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and his brother Sajjad were killed as they left a court hearing in Faisalabad city, where hundreds of Muslim protesters had demanded they be sentenced to death.”,-Muslims,-NGOs-mobilise-for-Asia-Bibi,-against-%E2%80%9Cobscene%E2%80%9D-blasphemy-law-19995.html

    November 19, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Samaritano

    Hey CNN- great job portraying the situation in your story. As far as the NY Times, just try finding a story abbou this in a search (not in a prominent position in any of the main page sections). You will have a very hard time finding anything at all, much less details. As usual, US media outlets sweeping information under the rug to further their not-so-hidden agenda of washing Sharia's dirty face. They are the same ones who will tell you how great life is in Cuba, in particular the health care "system" LOL

    November 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Samaritano

    On final comment: Had Mother Teresa openly tried to help the poor in Pakistan as she did in India, she would have apparently been sentenced to death. Peace out.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
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