16 January 2011

It Was Not Yet Clear

In case anyone needed a reminder of the effectiveness of “tolerance” and debate in the face of fanatic killers, the last couple of weeks in Pakistan have produced a few instructive examples for those who care to heed them. On Friday, a dozen gunmen, presumably Taliban, attacked the home of a fifty-year-old female police officer, killing her along with two sons, two daughters, and a daughter-in-law. On Thursday, two police officers were killed by a roadside bomb. On Wednesday, eighteen police officers and six civilians were blown up. And a couple of weeks ago, Salman Taseer, the outspoken liberal governor of Punjab Province, was assassinated, evoking memories of the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. Taseer was murdered by his own elite security guard, who riddled him with bullets at close range.

If multiculturalism has demonstrated anything, it is that a feeble set of modern ideas--“tolerant,” “democratic,” explicitly anti-ideological, and denying the absolutism of values--is no match for a fanatic ideology bent on destruction. How does one seek appeasement and conciliation with fevered killers who want nothing more than martyrdom? What does it mean to be diplomatic--to “meet halfway”--thugs who wish to murder you because you are free and prosperous, because you think for yourself and speak your mind, because you do not bend your knee to their superstitions?

The weakness of today’s intellectuals can be seen in the reports of Taseer’s murder. This was no ordinary Pakistani official; Mr. Taseer was an outspoken opponent of the blasphemy laws that were put in place during the rule of Mohammad Zia ul-Haq in the 1980’s. A New York Times article noted:
[Taseer] recently took up a campaign to repeal Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy laws, which were passed under General Zia as a way to promote Islam and unite the country. The laws have been misused to convict minority Pakistanis as the Islamic forces unleashed by the general have gathered strength. The laws prescribe a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam.[1, emphasis mine.]
The blasphemy laws have been misused? How, in the minds of New York Times reporters, would laws that sentence people to death for insulting Islam be used properly? Would the Times be satisfied if, for instance, the Islamists had more “fairly” distributed the death sentence to non-minorities?
Later in the same article, the reporters demonstrate an astonishing refusal to connect the dots.
[Taseer’s] attacker was identified as Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, an elite-force security guard, who surrendered to the police immediately afterward and implied he had killed the governor because of his campaign to amend the blasphemy laws.
“I am a slave of the Prophet, and the punishment for one who commits blasphemy is death,” he told a television crew from Dunya TV that arrived at the scene shortly after the killing, according to Nasim, Zahra, the director of news at the channel.
It was not yet clear whether he had acted alone or on behalf of some extremist group.[1, again, emphasis mine.]
Not yet clear? What could possibly be more clear than the fact that the assassin acted on behalf of Islam? Perhaps this is what passes for unbiased reporting, but it is the very opposite of objectivity. No objective mind could observe the facts and refuse to judge that Islamic totalitarianism is the motivation, the justification, and the inspiration of not just this murder, but all the other acts of Muslim terrorists for the last thirty years.
As long as the western world continues to placate barbaric murders instead of identifying their nature and confronting them with unapologetic force, we will be threatened. I came across an article describing the stepped-up security of a former minister Sherry Rehman, who is also an outspoken critic of the blasphemy laws and now fears for her safety in the wake of Taseer’s assassination. “The number of policemen deputed to guard Rehman’s home in Karachi was increased,” the report said. [2] Considering the fact that Mr. Taseer was killed by his own guard, it is not obvious to me how increasing the number of Ms. Rehman’s guards makes her safer.


1. Salman Masood and Carlotta Gall, “Killing of Governor Deepens Crisis in Pakistan,” The New York Times, 4 Jan 2011, “http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/world/asia/05pakistan.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2”.

2. “Pakistan increases security for former minister Sherry Rehman,” Daily News & Analysis India, 5 Jan 2011, “http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_pakistan-increases-security-for-former-minister-sherry-rehman_1490703”.

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