Obscene Praise for the Pakistani Muslim Who Murdered a ‘Blasphemer’

Mar 7, 2016

Photo credit: Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty

By Maajid Nawaz

Asia Bibi is a defenseless Pakistani Christian woman who was maliciously accused of “blasphemy” by her Muslim neighbors. They did this to settle a score after she committed the other “crime,” as a non-Muslim, of drinking water from the same cup as them. Asia was sentenced by Pakistan’s courts to death by hanging in 2010. She languishes in jail awaiting execution until this day. So far, so obscene.

Five years ago, Asia must have thought she had been given a lifeline. Imagine the delight felt by this powerless woman—for Christians are a tiny and discriminated against minority in Pakistan—when the governor of Pakistan’s largest province, the flamboyant secular Muslim, Salmaan Taseer, publicly took up her case. With such a high-profile champion, Asia would have been forgiven for thinking that her savior had arrived and that she would soon be freed.

The world reeled in shock at what happened next.

Pakistan’s mullah mafia proved stronger than the governor of Punjab.

In 2011 Salmaan Taseer was gunned down by his own bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, who brutally pumped nine bullets into the body of the man he mercilessly betrayed.

Salmaan’s “crime” was to campaign publicly in defense of Asia, and for a change to Pakistan’s archaic blasphemy laws.

Qadri came to be regarded as a hero by many Barelwi Pakistani Sufi Muslims for “defending” the “honor” of the Prophet Muhammad. And as if to rub acid into the wounds, the assassin was showered with rose petals as he walked to his trial through spontaneous rallies held in his support.

But last week, Qadri finally was executed by the state of Pakistan for his crime. Placing my personal rejection of the death sentence for criminals such as Qadri to one side, the case of Salmaan Taseer should now have been considered closed.

Far from it.

Tens of thousands of Pakistani Muslims joined Qadri’s funeral procession to mourn his death, and to hail him as a martyr.

Aside from how much harder this makes it to imagine the liberation of Asia Bibi from her imprisonment for the thought-crime of “blasphemy,” what this says about the psychological state of the Pakistani nation—and my own Pakistani Muslim heritage—is deeply depressing.

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6 comments on “Obscene Praise for the Pakistani Muslim Who Murdered a ‘Blasphemer’

  • The intentional murder rate in the US ( admittedly a murderous first world country ) is 3.8 per 100,000 and a total somewhat North of 12,000.

    The intentional murder rate in Pakistan is 7.7 per 100,00 with a total ( in a much smaller country ) North of 13,000.

    So, the “religion of peace” is not making Pakistanis peaceful!

    (One wonders what the unintentional rates are in Pakistan? )

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  • They are a horrible bunch of stupid ass, but please do not forget the murder ratio of the US police far above the murder rate from the worst country in the world…
    But it’s such a sad fact that half of the people on this world are ready to kill everybody for religious belief.

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  • Born in Christian family in Paksitan, i have faced many penalties, beaten, job issues, warnings to be assassinated if not turned to Islam, just for touching and reading their holy books.

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  • @OP – Obscene Praise for the Pakistani Muslim Who Murdered a ‘Blasphemer’

    It seems the representatives of the “religion of peace” – even in civilised countries, also praise murdering delusionists!


    The religious leader at Scotland’s biggest mosque has praised an extremist who was executed for committing murder in Pakistan, the BBC can reveal.

    Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman of Glasgow Central Mosque used the messaging platform WhatsApp to show his support for Mumtaz Qadri.

    Qadri was hanged in February after murdering a local politician who opposed strict blasphemy laws.

    In a statement the imam said the messages had been taken out of context.

    He said that he was expressing his opposition to capital punishment.

    In messages seen by the BBC, Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman says that he is “disturbed” and “upset” at the news of Qadri’s execution, before writing “rahmatullahi alai”, a religious blessing usually given to devout Muslims and meaning may God’s mercy be upon him.

    In another, he says: “I cannot hide my pain today. A true Muslim was punished for doing which [sic] the collective will of the nation failed to carry out.”

    These are prime examples of theist fudge-talk and double-think!

    He said that he was expressing his opposition to capital punishment.

    He is “against capital punishment”, when the state executes a treacherous murderer, but apparently murder of “blasphemers” on behalf of Islamic dogma, is praiseworthy, as it is only taking vigilante action on what the state should have done!

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  • Killing of critics, or religious dissenters, seems to be a regular doctrine for many!


    Pakistani security forces are on standby to remove more than 1,000 hardline Islamist protesters from central Islamabad.

    The demonstrators are angry at the recent execution of police guard Mumtaz Qadri, who assassinated a politician for advocating blasphemy law reform.

    They have pledged to defy the authorities and continue their action.

    Pakistan’s interior minister has vowed to clear the high-security zone, which the protesters overran on Sunday.

    “We don’t want any violence, but we can’t tolerate it any more,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told protesters late on Tuesday.

    He moved a deadline for them to disperse from Tuesday evening to Wednesday.

    The protesters have also called for the immediate execution of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.

    Her case was championed by moderate Punjab governor Salman Taseer before he was shot dead by Qadri in 2011. Qadri’s supporters say he is a hero and should be considered a martyr.

    Critics say the blasphemy laws, which allow the death penalty to be imposed in some cases, are often misused to oppress religious minorities.

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