Slander, Blasphemy & Censorship

“My Father’s Killer’s Funeral”

A son reflects on the massive showing of support for his father's murderer.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | April 29, 2016

Aatish Taseer is the British-born son of Pakistani governor Salmaan Taseer.  In 2011, his father was assassinated by his own bodyguard for defending a Christian woman against Pakistan’s harsh anti-blasphemy laws.  That bodyguard, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, claimed to be acting in defense of Islam.  He became a hero to many across the country.  The judge who sentenced him to death for the murder had to flee the country.  A mosque was named after Qadri in Pakistan’s capital city.

Pakistan put Qadri to death earlier this year.  A hundred thousand people came to his funeral.

The spectacle of such a tremendous outpouring of support and respect for his father’s killing was disturbing for Aatish Taseer.  He wrote a moving piece in the New York Times about the effect of it.

As pictures emerged of the sea of humanity that coalesced around the white ambulance strewn with red rose petals that carried Mr. Qadri’s body, a few thoughts occurred to me: Was this the first funeral on this scale ever given to a convicted murderer? Did the men who took to the street in such great numbers come out of their hatred of my father or their love of his killer? They hardly knew Mr. Qadri. The only thing he had done in all his life, as far as they knew, was kill my father. Before that he was anonymous; after that he was in jail. Was this the first time that mourners had assembled on this scale not out of love but out of hate?

And finally, I wondered, what happens when an ideology of hate is no longer just coming from the mouths of Saudi-funded clerics but has infected the body of the people? What do you do when the madness is not confined to radical mosques and madrasas, but is abroad among a population of nearly 200 million?

Those are questions much in need of answers.  In neighboring India, an Islamic reformer named Sultan Shaheen has been struggling with the question.  He and Taseer come to different answers about the root of the problem.  For Taseer, this is a characteristically modern problem with Islam, a reaction to modernity itself.  For Shaheen, the problem is very much older:  “For hundreds of years now, major Muslim theologians have been engaged in creating a coherent theology of intolerance and violence in order to expand the Islamic reach,” he said in a recent interview.  “Luminaries of Islam have established a theology which primarily says that Islam must conquer the world and it is the religious duty of all Muslims to strive towards that goal and contribute to it in whatever way they can.”

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws represent an attempt to control and conquer in this way.  Taseer writes that the laws are “used by the Sunni majority to terrorize the country’s few religious minorities.”  His father’s killer’s funeral shows how vast the problem has become.


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