12/04/2010, 00.00

Peshawar Imam: "A reward to kill Asia Bibi"

Jibran Khan
In his sermon, Maulana Yousuf Qureshi of the Mohabat Khan mosque, said that if the appeals court judge innocent Asia Bibi will be the mujahideen to kill her. The leader has also warned the government on any changes to the law on blasphemy.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - On the Friday prayer imam of the largest mosque in Peshawar offered a reward of 4,500 euro, for anyone who kills Asia Bibi. In his sermon, Maulana Yousuf Qureshi warned the government against any move to abolish or amend the blasphemy law. " We will strongly resist - said the religious leader - any attempt to repeal laws which provide protection to the sanctity of Holy Prophet Muhammad". "Whoever kills Asia Bibi – he continued - will be given a reward of 500 thousand rupees from the Mohabat Khan mosque". The imam said that if the appeals court judge Asia Bibi innocent, the mujahideen will kill her.

According to local sources Qureshi does not have many followers, but his threats increase the climate of tension in the country and are likely to influence government decisions. Already in 2006, Qureshi promised rewards amounting to over 1 million for anyone who succeeded in killing the Danish cartoonists, guilty of having drawn the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad, tells AsiaNews: "I'm not surprised by the threats of the imam of the Mohabat Khan mosque. The hard-line Taliban of these religious thread have turned our country into a breeding for terrorists". "Only a leader who has been brainwashed – he continued - can be argued as Islamic laws that have no basis in the Koran. These statements serve only to create a bad name for Pakistan and Islam and make the lives of Pakistanis even more miserable. " The prelate stresses that the country must get rid of these laws and needs an educational program sponsored by the State and the United Nations against these ideologies. "Asia Bibi - Bishop Rufin adds. is innocent and has been accused and sentenced to death for blasphemy over a trivial dispute with her neighbors. "

Sources of Justice and Peace Commission told AsiaNews: "Given that the blasphemy law, in its current form has no basis in Islam, it could be repealed in one day. This provision was not created by the masses and was not even requested by the people. "

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See also
Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minister who defended Asia Bibi, is assassinated
Karachi, women on streets in support of the blasphemy law
Asia Bibi fears for her life, while awaiting a government decision
Paul Bhatti, brother of the murdered minister is "special adviser" to Prime Minister on Minorities
Asia Bibi still in prison. Government u-turn on law against blasphemy