We’ve been waiting for years for “moderate” Muslims to appear and offer a viable alternative to the “extremists”. I’d all but given up hope, but now they’ve finally appeared — in Pakistan, of all places.
I’m talking about the crowds of Pakistani lawyers and other prominent citizens who have been celebrating Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of the governor of Punjab. As you may recall, Gov. Salman Taseer was gunned down on Tuesday by his bodyguard for his blasphemous opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law.
“Wait a minute, Baron!” you say. “How can you call all those zealots ‘moderates’?”
Because that’s what they’re billed as by well-meaning people.
Cast your mind back to last night’s news feed, which featured a report on the five hundred Pakistani religious scholars who warned Muslims not to grieve over the dead blasphemer, or risk sharing his fate. These reputable scholiasts belong to a group called Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat, which is commonly described as “moderate”. Their moderation tells them that Salman Taseer got what was coming to him:
[The scholars] also said that the ‘so-called’ intellectuals, ministers, politicians and television anchors who oppose the blasphemy law and support those committing blasphemy should learn a lesson from Taseer’s death.
Now come the lawyers, showering the assassin with rose petals. According to Arab News:
Pakistani Lawyers Salute Taseer’s Killer
ISLAMABAD: The killer of Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer was showered with rose petals by lawyers when he was presented Wednesday before District and Sessions Judge Malik Naeem Shaukat by police. The court gave Islamabad police remand of Malik Mumtaz Qadri for a day.
Qadri was brought to court in an armored car. A rowdy crowd slapped him on the back and kissed him as he was escorted inside the court. The lawyers who tossed the rose petals were not involved in the case.
As he left the court, a crowd of about 200 sympathizers raised slogans in his favor.
Earlier, more than 500 preachers and scholars from the Jamat Ahle Sunnat group said no one should pray or express regret for the killing of the governor. The group representing Pakistan’s majority Barelvi sect also issued a veiled threat to other opponents of the blasphemy laws.
“The supporter is as guilty as one who committed blasphemy,” the group warned in a statement, adding politicians, the media and others should learn “a lesson from the exemplary death.” Jamat leader Maulana Shah Turabul Haq Qadri paid “glorious tribute to the murderer … for his courage, bravery and religious honor and integrity.”
Folks, these are the moderate Muslims.
They are well-educated professionals, respected in their fields. They are no “tiny minority”: they are the not-so-silent majority.
If these are the moderates, I’d hate to see the extremists.
Hat tip: KGS.