Farewell, Salman Taseer

This is an unorthodox eulogy to Salman Taseer, and Jinnah’s dream of a secular nation that shall be buried along with him.

I’ll refrain from commenting on the governor’s history. Whether he had made too many mistakes, or was simply misunderstood, shall be divulged at a later time when it wouldn’t come off as overly callous. What’s heart-wrenching is that he was killed for something that he did right. He followed his conscience, which evidently in this country, leaves you with with 22 bullets lodged in your body.

When I heard the news, I was half-expecting Taseer’s death, however tragic, to leave the finest of silver linings: a wake-up call for ignorant, fanatical Muslims (a class that now constitutes an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis) – to help them see that this phony war against blasphemers has been taken too far.

Alas, that never happened. In fact, Taseer’s death revealed the true face of Pakistan, and it is a sepulchral one. We are no longer beset by extremists – we ARE extremists. In the last seven hours, I’ve seen hordes of human cockroaches (if I may borrow the term from one of Fasi Zaka’s popular articles, which has earned even more credence in the light of the recent tragedy) celebrating the death of our country’s top government official, claiming that he got what he deserved.

I won’t argue Islam here. But I will stand for a Pakistanis right to contest a constitution that governs him. That’s what Salman Taseer did. Muslims have deluded themselves into thinking that they have all rights reserved to the state constitution and that no one should be allowed to question it, let alone change it. Muslims believe that they have a divine license to shove their beliefs down other people’s throats, whether they like it or not.

So allow me to make use of a certain word that Muslims blame the West for crying out unjustly and way too often. I’m afraid this word fits perfectly here..

Islamofascism..

We’ve become a nation of coward Islamofascists, who’d much sooner shed a fellow human’s blood than to acknowledge that he has just as much right to speak out as we do – for he’s a man just as Pakistani as we are. Many readers may object to my choice of words in this case, for they would like to remain segregated from reality, trying to convince themselves that this was a one-bad-apple scenario. And that my use of the term “nation” is unfair generalization.

But I see what I see. What I and many fellow rationalists view as a horrific assassination, most of the Pakistani public views as a justifiable assault. I find myself being bombarded with jovial messages about how a “courageous slave of Muhammad has killed a blasphemer”. I see similar reactions on the internet. What’s worse is that these people are the educated class of our country – engineers, medical students, business students – and not some witless hicks living in far-off countrysides.

Taseer never committed blasphemy. He never even succeeded in revoking the blasphemy law. He merely proposed an amendment to it. What gives him the right to do so? Quite simply, his Pakistani nationality.

It is only those who are wrong and tainted, who fight so fiercely to keep people from conducting inquiries and asking questions. Those who have confidence in their purity, never shrink away from criticism. The ones who fear that open discussion may lead to unwanted divulgement of filthy secrets, are the ones who struggle to keep the freethinkers silent by threatening them with bogus charges of “blasphemy”.

Fight words with words. That is, of course, unless you’re certain that your words will not be able to hold their ground in the court of logic and be admonished by human conscience. In that case, grab a gun and do what the “religion of peace” expects you to do…

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    • Irtaza de Alno
    • January 4th, 2011

    Sadly enough, this article will be seen as that “bold, controversial, tabloid news”. I have not heard one response from the “moderate Muslim community” on this. For so long have they claimed that empty claim and we see people of high stature proclaiming the same ideas (i.e Reza Aslan, Dalia Mogahed who even far enough to say that Sharia has been misunderstood). What is depressing to realize is that this sort of criticism only strengthens the belief of many Muslims who’d rather cling to the defensive side of Islam because their acceptance of conspiracy theories, denial and their belief that they are the victims of society will make them think that way.

  1. I won’t argue Islam here. But I will stand for a Pakistanis right to contest a constitution that governs him. That’s what Salman Taseer did. Muslims have deluded themselves into thinking that they have all rights reserved to the state constitution and that no one should be allowed to question it, let alone change it. Muslims believe that they have a divine license to shove their beliefs down other people’s throats, whether they like it or not.

    I am glad this incident made you realize the horrors we have harbored within Pakistan since the beginning. This isn’t the first incident though and trust me if we together don’t stand up against this fanatic Mullahism running wild around Pakistan, this wouldn’t be the last one.

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 5th, 2011

    Well said, Irataza. There comes a time when Muslims need to learn to stop defending their faith blindly and actually start thinking about what their doing…or at least start listening to their conscience. That time is now.

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 5th, 2011

    Thanks Hasan, but I’ve been aware of the precariousness of the “Islamic” situation in Pakistan for a long time. This incident only confirms my prognosis that mullahism will drive this nation into the ground.

    • The thing is that, I encountered highly educated people arguing with me about the blasphemy law, clearly it wasn’t their opinion it was the opinion of some maulvi they follow, but it was alarming to know that most of the (so called) educated and enlightened ones are also promoting the agenda of the clerics. It is very alarming and disheartening.

      You might see the debate in one of the post I made where I tried to prove that blasphemy law isn’t Islamic.

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 5th, 2011

    Hasan,
    I agree you and I’m quite sure that it’s not Islamic at all. But the problem is that religion is, and will always remain, a subjective deal..even if every religious person thinks that it’s the same for everybody.

    While peaceful people like yourself may be attracted to the nicer and more ecumenical verses and ahadith, the more jangli (that’s really as mild as I can put it) public will be attracted to the more violent ahadith, even if their authenticity is disputed.

    You cannot teach a person what to believe or what not believe, because these violent are right there in the sunnah. Plus blasphemous remarks make Muslims so angry that it motivates them to believe in such violent ahadith, just to allow them an excuse to quench their personal rage.

  2. Plus blasphemous remarks make Muslims so angry that it motivates them to believe in such violent ahadith, just to allow them an excuse to quench their personal rage.

    I agree with you, that is what I find most disturbing about Muslims. They don’t follow the humble example of the Prophet (pbuh).

    What I don’t get is (and I have asked it to many ‘promoters’ of the blasphemy law) that In our country, it is allowed for a Hindu and Christian to do blasphemy towards GOD almighty (Hindus with multiple Gods, Christians making a son of God) and we are alright with that but blasphemy towards a Prophet is unbearable?

    It just baffles me, Muslims (God forbid) have put the Prophet (pbuh) above God.

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 5th, 2011

    Precisely. It’s ironic that Muslims, en masse, are baying for blood of blasphemers in the name of a Prophet who forgave those who pelted him with stones in Taif.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to faith, reason loses its potency. You show them the peaceful examples from Prophet’s life, they’ll counter you with violent ones. At the end, it’ll all come down to the matter of cherry-picking whatever hadith or verse that appeals to one.

    Nearly everyday, I receive sms jokes on Kali and Hanuman…no blasphemy there! Not that I would condone death penalty for such a thing either, but such blatant hypocrisy only adds insult to the injury.

    • Yes, exactly. But I must tell you there is a huge explanation behind the claimed ‘violence’ which these ignorant clerics use to their advantage.

      It turns out even in the life of the Prophet there was no preaching by the sword, even the non-Muslims and historians are forced to concede that.

      I have written a whole series of post in regards to the (so called) violence in Islam, where I have tried to explain how it is misinterpreted and misused to harm the personality of the Prophet and the cause of Islam.

      Do read it in your spare time.
      http://dinopak.wordpress.com/tag/religion-of-peace/

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 5th, 2011

    That’s very well written. I didn’t have the time to read all the parts, but it’s interesting.

    The question, however, isn’t strictly about whether Islam is violent or not. The problem lies within the complexities poured into the religion in the name of sunnah (I wrote something on this matter a couple of days back, which explains in detail what I’m talking about: http://loneliberalpk.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/sunnah-the-devils-in-the-details/)

    Islam, being the last of the major religions, is also the most modern and most tolerant. However, Muslims have managed to turn Islam into a complicated personality cult for Muhammad. They’ve lost themselves into the infinite depths of the ahadith, a majority of which are fake. In general, the Quranists (who follow Quran alone) are a lot more progressive and peaceful than an average Muslim.

    • Indian Rational Atheist
    • January 6th, 2011

    I came to this site while browsing through and trying to digest what has just happened in pakistan hoping if anybody still has the courage to talk against the blasphemy laws, and here I land.

    My major question to the author is “Isn’t this blog entry correspond to blasphemy against islam”?? In a nation where a citizen take up law in their hand to kill the governer for voicing his opinion and claim it as his religious duty, I would be very wary to write to something like this (and no, Iam not kidding when I write this).

    If media is to be believed, a christian mother of three is sentenced to death ‘just’ for alligrations of blasphemy with no proof because that is a law of the state (horrible in itself) and the governer who questions this killed by a moron who is happy about the killing episode AND on top of that the general public and religious leaders mostly support his options. It doesn’t even stop here! The killer has a wife married for 3 years and a kid to take care of who now stand in the road awaiting fate to take over their lives. Most importantly the killer is a member of public and not a terrorist and belongs to a elite squad instead. I cannot start to comprehend which part is more scary than the other!!

    All these breaks my belief over the pakistani public. Please prove me wrong. I was under the opinion that pakistan public generally is same as indian public inspite of the politicians and mullahs and only indian media blows things out of proportion. But the support of the pakistani elite public to the killing (facebook saga, courtroom saga et all) says me a different story. The story I did not believe all these days! Topping that 500+ mullahs condemn mourning to the governer’s death and nobody even questions them!!

    I thereby ask the basic questions in my mind since I respect your opinion after reading the article.

    1) Is all the above true?
    2) What % of pakistini public support this killing and what % are sane?
    3) Is there any scope to improve the public perspective
    4) Is this brutal law gonna exist for ever? Will anyone come forward and take up the task of getting rid of this system after the incident?
    5) Nobody in pakistani media asks or talks about the bigger question. If a security guard is turning into a killing machine in no time, how efficient will be the security condition and who will believe in that anymore? Will any forign official (Or even pakistani VIPs) believe in the security system anymore? How will they voice their opinion when there is a man with a gun near them whom they don’t know is a friend or an enemy?? Will it not lead to international isolation? (Already the cricket grounds are lying vacant in pakistan..)

    The public opinion + politician indifference + mullah opinion and relevence, all suggest that the doomsday is quite near. – My personal opinion. Not to offend anyone. I would have said the same thing if I were living in pakistan.

  3. Islam, being the last of the major religions, is also the most modern and most tolerant. However, Muslims have managed to turn Islam into a complicated personality cult for Muhammad. They’ve lost themselves into the infinite depths of the ahadith, a majority of which are fake. In general, the Quranists (who follow Quran alone) are a lot more progressive and peaceful than an average Muslim.

    I agree with your observations that Muslims have made Islam into a ‘cult’ around the personality of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). I know Qura’anists too, while I agree that Qura’an is the ultimate book and code of law, much of the understanding dilemma is solved with Sunnah and Hadith.

    Hadith is not obligatory, its upto one’s common sense to accept what is being bonded towards the Prophet can it be true or not. I am sure you will be familiar with the Ahmadiyya Muslim section, they are the most modest one in the world. The only moto they have is ‘Love for all, hatred for none’.

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 6th, 2011

    Indian Rational Atheist,

    1) It’s true.

    2) There are no statistics available, so I’ll just have to give you a few facts that might help you better appreciate the gravity of the situation.
    I’m a med student, meaning that I’m among the privileged 6% of this nation who go through tertiary education. About 40% of my colleagues, all educated and enlightened Pakistanis, praise the murderer as “soldier of Allah”. You can imagine what the situation is like among the lesser-educated 94% of our people.

    3) I hate myself for being such a pessimist, but there’s little hope for this country. The only solution I see would be for the ISI agency of Pakistan to start abducting the more pro-active mullahs one-by-one to reduce the strength of the mullah parties, particularly Sunni-Tehreek and JUI. It’s not the kind of operation I would generally condone, but considering these circumstances..

    4) The blasphemy law is merely the tip of the iceberg. It is not the extent of our problems, but merely a taste of what a theocratic regime in Pakistan is going to be like. At the moment, revoking this “black law” (as Taseer called it) seems impossible. Until the mullahs keep riling up the ignorant masses

    5) A very valid point. Regrettably, I cannot argue with it.

      • Indian Rational Atheist
      • January 7th, 2011

      You must be farah if Iam correct (reading an dmanipulating stuff from the blogs) with a different ID?

      This is the first time Iam getting sensible replies other than “Go and look after naxals and thakerys first” or “prevent killing in kashmir first and then talk”. 🙂

      I owe quite a bit to this website and will come back with questions shortly.

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 7th, 2011

    Farah? Doesn’t ring a bell. The content here, I assure you, is original.

    Anyway, thanks!

    • loneliberalpk
    • January 7th, 2011

    That’s my article, but I’m not sure who Farah is. If you’ve seen the same article in a different site, could you please direct me to it?

  4. Salman Taseer should be awarded with Sitara e Imtiaz to officially shut the Mullahs fuck up. I wish Zardari could do this only good work. I wish.

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