For years we’ve been hearing about how the peaceful religion of Islam has been hijacked by extremists. What if it’s the other way around?
In Pakistan, where the Muslims moved to who left India, about the time Ghandi was assassinated, it’s the mainstream Muslims are the violent ones!
For years, I’ve been saying that those you may know as “moderate Muslims” are the counterparts of “nominal Christians” — people who call themselves “Christians” but don’t live like it.
The problem in telling one from another is that the Islamic faith’s Holy book, the Qu’ran, instructs them to lie to infidels.
Salman Taseer, a popular Pakistani governor, was assassinated this week because he was critical of Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Specifically, Taseer was supportive of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death for “insulting Muhammad.”
Bibi had offered some fellow farm laborers some water. They refused to drink it because Christian hands apparently make water “unclean”. An argument followed. She defended her faith, which they took as synonymous with attacking theirs. Later, she says, a mob of her accusers raped her.
Naturally, a Pakistani judge sentenced her to hang for blasphemy. Governor Taseer, who bravely visited her and sympathized with her plight, had 40 bullets pumped into him by one of his own bodyguards.
“Salmaan Taseer is a blasphemer and this is the punishment for a blasphemer,” Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri said to the television cameras even as he was being arrested.
A reasonable person might look at this tragic situation and say it is indeed proof of extremists trying to hijack the religion and the country, except, it was Taseer who wanted to change the status quo and Qadri who wanted to protect it.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been on the books for decades, and while judicial death sentences for blasphemy are rare, the police and security forces have been enforcing it unilaterally for years.
And what of the reaction to the assassination?
And what of the country’s official guardians of the faith? A group of more than 500 leading Muslim scholars, representing what the Associated Press describes a “moderate school of Islam” and the British Guardian calls the “mainstream religious organizations” in Pakistan not only celebrated the murder, but warned that no Muslim should mourn Taseer’s murder or pray for him.
If that’s what counts for religious moderation in Pakistan, I think it’s a little late to be talking about extremists hijacking the religion. The religion has long since been hijacked.
Pakistan though, is special because it has nuclear weapons!
And, it’s inextricably bound up in the war in neighboring Afghanistan and the larger war on terror. U.S. relations with the Pakistani military remain strong, but as we’ve seen with Turkey, good relations with a military don’t make up for losing support from an allied government as it goes Islamist. Also, it seems unlikely that a government can long stay secular when the people want it to become ever more Islamist.
Most of the above, written from an article by Jonah Goldberg in JewishWorldReview.com