Salman Taseer

Salman Taseer

In November a Christian woman was sentenced to death in Pakistan after being convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohammed. It was unusual because Asia Bibi was thought to be the first woman on death row for the offence. On the other hand, it is all too common for members of Pakistan’s religious minorities to be convicted on trumped up charges of blasphemy.

The law is nasty and dates to the reign of General Zia, who led Pakistan through a process of Islamisation. It is one of the laws that no-one has dared undo for fear of unleashing a religious backlash.

President Zardari, for one, has assured Bibi’s supporters that he will pardon her if the Lahore High Court fails to overturn her conviction. But he told them he won’t revamp the laws, fearing a rightwing backlash if he tries to reform blasphemy legislation.

This is the problem that grips Pakistan. No-one dares challenge the clerics. The government in Islamabad claims to be progressive and forward looking. It says the right things. But when it comes to speaking up against the country’s conservative religious orthodoxy it falls short, unwilling to offer a secular, or moderate Islamic view.

Salman Taseer was one of the exceptions. He took Asia Bibi’s case to the president and pressed hard for an overhaul of the blasphemy laws, efforts that brought him death threats. His assassination today will further deter members of the liberal elite from tackling the real challenges that face Pakistan.

Without his steel it will become harder to taken on the militant threat that feeds on a mainstream narrative that the West is evil and that any reform is a retreat. We will be left with a government that kowtows to the US is private while publicly decrying the use of drones in its skies; that daren’t reform its blasphemy laws; and that throws in the towel to the people that Salman Taseer called “lunatics”.

“I’m surprised by the huge support I’ve got. I have a lot of support for changing the blasphemy laws – except for this small fringe of lunatics that have singled me out,” he said, when I interviewed him recently. “People were afraid to discuss it before, but now everyone is talking about this inequality.”

“These people won’t stop me.”

3 thoughts on “Salman Taseer

  1. All the PPP ministers such as Khurshid Shah and Babar Awan who defended the law should be hauled along with all the maulanas who burned his effigies and issued fatwas against him for this brutal murder.

  2. ‘Blasphemy’ against Mohammed has the power to DESTROY Islam, and the Muslims know it

    Islam’s one and only foundation is the credibility and resultant authority of Mohammed. If you can undermine that credibility, then you have destroyed Islam.

    ALL of Islam derives from Mohammed and nowhere else. Even aspects of Islam that appear to derive from Christianity and Judaism are actually corrupted versions of those religions which have been twisted and perverted to suit Mohammed’s psychopathic agenda.

    There are three ways of attacking Mohammed (1) Ethical Arguments (2) Rational Arguments and (3) Undermining his leadership.

    (1) Ethical arguments are not as effective as they might at first seem.
    By our standards, Mohammed’s actions were evil. But Muslims live in a different moral universe from the rest of us, where the very definition of good and evil are determined by what Mohammed (the Perfect man) did and said. Islam aims to completely destroy the conscience and free will of the Muslim and replace it with the cloned behavior of a psychopathic megalomaniac.

    (2) Rational arguments are no better. Muslims are taught from an early age that faith is superior to reason, and that it is a sin to even question the Koran (‘Bi-la kayf’ or ‘Bi-la kaifa’, which means Mohammedan contradictions and absurdities must be accepted without asking how or why) . Apart from which, the majority of Muslims are below average intelligence due to genetic damage caused by generations of inbreeding.

    (3) Undermining Mohammed’s leadership…

    (3a) Nobody likes to be conned, and when they find they have been conned they turn against the conman. Muslims are naturally suspicious to the extent of paranoia and much given to conspiracy theories, so if you can show Mohammed as a person who deceived his own followers (as well as deceiving the kuffars – which is OK), then you will have more seriously undermined their faith than any rational or ethical argument could.

    (3b) Nobody likes to be a laughing-stock. So if you can make Mohammed into a figure of ridicule and derision he will no longer appear to be ‘The Perfect Man’ and role model. This is why the Motoons were so effective.

  3. Surely the aim is not make Islam or the Prophet a laughing stock. No-one is talking about repealing the blasphemy laws entirely (although that would be my favoured option). Salman Taseer was talking about reforming them so they could not be abused and exploit to settle scores or target minorities.

    It is absurd to conflate a desire to make the laws work better with a desire to undermine Islam.

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