Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Murder of Salman Taseer

No baby news, but any day now, went to the doctor's today and he said my water could break any minute, which would be awesome, I'm so ready.

I have to write about the tragedy that happened in Pakistan, the murder of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab (a state in Pakistan). This horrible incident exemplifies the extent of intolerance that has become the norm in Pakistan. Salman Taseer became a target by Islamic right wing zealots when he stood against Pakistan's antiquated blasphemy laws. He spoke out against the trial of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has been accused of speaking against the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), which is against the law in Pakistan. He was shot to death by one of his bodyguards, while the rest of the bodyguards looked on. The killer said he had to do it because Taseer was against the blasphemy laws.

When I think of blasphemy laws, I think of the Salem Witch Trials, when ignorance and fear ruled the day, ignorant thinking. I have to agree with the late Mr. Taseer, these laws are backwards and not the mark of a modern country. As a Muslim I am unclear why these laws even exist. So what, if someone says something against the Prophet (pbuh) or make a comic strip- these things are not going to affect my faith. I am unclear why the religious right get so afraid of free speech, is your faith so fickle? What purpose does a blasphemy law serve exactly?

Some Pakistani's openly rejoiced at this assassination and that is what is even more tragic. This shows me that the extremists are winning in Pakistan. Instead of moral outrage throughout the country, many Pakistani's think this killing was not only permissible but right. What the heck?! Not that I'm surprised, as an Indian, with a grandfather who was virulently anti-Pakistani, I don't have high opinions of the country of Pakistan overall. They tend to be highly insecure in their religious identity, with some sort of inferiority complex to Arabs. But this incident really disgusts me, particularly the support by so many people to the killer, showering him with rose petals as he is arrested...what?! And that dog of a man killer has the audacity to smile as he is lead to jail, sick, sick, sick.

All of this just bothers me as Muslim. I love my faith, in its true origins it gives me peace and tranquility. I don't need to prove to any human being my devotion to Islam, only God will judge me. Yet, it feels like these right wing people are just taking the religion over. I want to lend my voice for opposition to these acts, this is not Islam! Islam its not about persecuting minorities in Muslim countries (what hypocrites by the way, as the Prophet, pbuh, did not allow that at all, read your Islamic history you stupid idiots!) be they Coptic Christians in Egypt or a liberal voice such as Salman Taseer's. This whole thing just makes me outraged.


Blogger Hina said...

hope you're wearing a diapy or something...uh...I didn't read the rest of the post :)

9:01 PM  
Anonymous pollythewriter said...

Hey, Virginia Gal. I forgot that you have this blog. Hope your feeling ok.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous pollythewriter said...

So sad. Seems like the extremists are getting the upper hand in all walks of life, VG.

9:12 PM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

The radical right of any religion seem to cause way more than their share of the world's problems. Fear and ignorance.

(And I'm excited for you about the birth being close!)

8:02 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I suppose all we can do is pray for tolerance in all religions and cultures.

I know you're so excited about the arrival of the new baby. Please let us know when you become a Mommy.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Darla D said...

Hooray for the baby coming soon!

I recently came across this quotation from MLK Jr: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Sigh. Wish more people would take those words to heart.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Jim Baxter said...

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and respectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is oriented to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the universe. selah

- from The Human Paradigm: Earth's Choicemaker

11:33 AM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Hina - aye!

Polly - yes sad that it seems extremists take over. sigh.

Secret Agent - yes you are so right they are causing more than a disproportionate amount of violence.

Brenda - thank you, I will definitely let you guys know!

Darla - nice quote, we must be the light : )

Jim - thanks.

3:13 PM  
Blogger icefalcon said...

This was a good article, and I mostly agree with what you say. I do have some questions--I'm not trying to pick on you, I just wish a "moderate Muslim" would explain the reasoning behind some of these issues.

My main question is, why haven't moderate Muslims publicly denounced sections of the Qur'an ("Slay the unbelievers") or Mohammad's behavior? Are Muslims supposed to live according to the example set by Mohammad? Many seem to regard him as the ideal Muslims should aspire to, in tolerance and moderation. If so, what do you think of (some) Muslim clerics' opinion that adult men can marry children, based on Mohammad's middle-aged marriage to a 6 year old (albeit the marriage wasn't consummated until she was 9)? Children in Afghanistan and Pakistan are married based on this interpretation. Likewise, Mohammad ordered the slaughter of around 70 Jews. Shouldn't moderate Muslims like yourself clear the record and explain, to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, that immoral acts should not be excused no matter who performs them? I think this would go a long way toward helping to show that Islam is not the stultified, violent religion it is perceived to be--sometimes with great justification.

(I would even go so far as to say that Muslims who excuse Mohammad's relationship with Aisha can never be integrated into American society.)

As for tolerance, I also wonder if you know that non-Muslims in many Muslim countries are expected to observe shariah to a great degree (dress code, not eating in public during Ramadan, etc.) What gives? And some people describe themselves as moderate yet take issue with relatives (especially girls) who marry outside the faith. That's not tolerant. And have you ever been to Mecca? How many Christians did you run into, at the epicenter of such a "tolerant" religion? What would happen if I went to Mecca? Would I receive tolerant treatment?

I live in a part of the country (Chicago) where non-Muslims are confronted with jihad (not in the violent sense, but in the effort-to-convert sense) every single day. My kids attended a PUBLIC school, and their class was asked to recite the shahada at an assembly! Luckily, we convinced the school not to force them to do this, but this is what "moderates" are out there doing. I do my best to inform as many people as possible about the intentions of some of these moderates, and I always tell them: "Read the Qur'an and read about Mohammad."

I hope that you will continue to live your values, which do seem very sincere. But until Muslims who describe themselves as moderate address the issues I raised, their intentions will always be suspect.

By the way, we are all Browncoats here. And we watch Castle, too.

8:38 PM  

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