An admitted murderer was swarmed by supporters outside of a court today.
Where in the world was this you may ask? Pakistan. The Governor of Punjab was shot over 20 times in the back for - wait for it - his outspoken support of a Christian convert facing execution under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
This excerpt is from Arab News:
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.”
Local religious heads, including the imam of the Badshahi Mosque, refused to lead funeral prayer for the slain governor.
The following is from TIME:
In a statement issued by Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, a prominent religious organization that represents the Barelvi movement of Sunni Muslims, more than 500 religious scholars urged Pakistanis not to express regret over Taseer's murder. Ibatsam Ellahi, a member of Jamaat Ahle Hadith Pakistan, another conservative religious group, asked the faithful to refrain from attending the funeral of one of the most charismatic and visible representatives of the ruling Pakistan People's Party. "He sided with a woman who had committed blasphemy, so he himself can also be considered to be blasphemous and hence a non-Muslim," Ellahi said. "And I don't think I need to attend the funeral of such a man." A few Islamic scholars even went as far as to praise Malik Mumtaz Qadri, Taseer's bodyguard and alleged killer, who reportedly belonged to a nonviolent faction of the Barelvi sect. On Tuesday, Qadri was supposedly so enraged at the governor's stance that he shot him in the back more than 25 times as Taseer toured a market in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.
I don't bring this up so as to get into an argument over what historical atrocities have been done the name of Christianity or Islam, that spitball contest never resolves anything, and only drags up a bunch of bad sh!t that distracts from the current subject.
That subject is the public support by so-called religious leaders of a murder.
Only a fanatic would attempt to rationalize murder in the name of religion. Capital punishment for violent crimes is a separate argument in my opinion, but capital punishment for converting to a different religion??? Come on peoples. That's pathetic. Barbaric. Inhumane. Unjust. That's what so-called religious leaders really are if they publicly support murder - barbarians.
AND they should earn the label "terrorist" for issuing threats to the media and other politicians who don't toe their line.
Now I am not typing this to bash Islam in general, only fanatics.
One thing I will say regarding Islam: I see a large amount of it's followers refusing to speak out against the great misuse of the word of the Koran. They refuse to speak out when those words are twisted to rationalize murders and the use of terror tactics against other human beings, including other Muslims.
The murder of Salmaan Taseer is case in point: a prominent Muslim speaks out publicly against fanaticism, and he gets shot 20+ times in the back.
If religious leaders say "you are one of us or you have no value and you are an infidel" then you no longer deserve the labels "religious" or "leader."
Those labels should be left for men and women who spread messages of peace and love.
Climbing off my soapbox now. This episode is just one more reason I'm thankful I live in America. Because apparently I'd get shot for voicing this opinion in Pakistan right now...