Slander, Blasphemy & Censorship

Taliban Execute Famous Sufi Performer for “Blasphemy”

Amjad Sabri sang from childhood into manhood of nothing but praises for Allah. It didn't save him from being murdered for blasphemy.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | June 23, 2016

Amjad Sabri was a performer of Qawwali, an expression of Sufi Islam’s devotion to Allah through song.  So devout was he that, in his performances, he would sometimes be overwhelmed with tears.  Today he is dead, shot three times in the head by the Taliban on charges of blasphemy.

The question Sufis are asking themselves today is “Why him?”  Kuldeep Kumar thinks he knows why.

Sabri’s murder is part of, to borrow words from Pakistan’s most prominent human rights activist Asma Jahangir, “an unnerving tale of how politics empowered bigotry, laws were used for persecuting religious minorities and liberal Pakistanis, and how an easy-going Muslim population was turned into an insufferable “puritanical” society.”


Counterjihad has covered the effect of these Pakistani blasphemy laws before.  Aatish Taseer watched his father’s killer celebrated after his execution by a hundred thousand people.  He meditated on the spectacle of such a vast celebration of a man’s murder.

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?

In the case of singer Amjad Sabri, his offense seems to have been that he mentioned members of Muhammad’s family — not even Muhammad himself — during the performance of a song in a way that hardliners found inadequately respectful.  The incident resulted in Pakistan’s courts issuing a charge of blasphemy against him.  The Taliban executed him, as Qadri had executed Taseer’s father.  The court did not issue a formal sentence of death, but the hardliners know that sharia mandates death for blasphemy.  Once the court had endorsed a charge of blasphemy, radical Islam’s sense of justice requires completing the murder.

This is in a sense even more alarming than the cartoon murders, which touched Muhammad himself and were not always at all respectful.  Here the ‘blasphemy’ is extended to mere members of Muhammad’s family.  While the court did not think he was adequately respectful, consider the context:  they were mentioned in an Islamic song of praise, as key actors in the story of Allah’s relationship to human beings.  The song accepted Islam as true, accepted as true that Muhammad was a prophet.  The singer was a devout Muslim engaged in the praise of Allah.

If this is blasphemy, these radicals leave no room for the rest of us.  If this man must die for his crimes, how many will not be found to merit death by the same standard?  If someone whose whole life was devoted to singing the praises of Islam is not safe from charges of blasphemy, who is not a blasphemer?


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