The governor of Punjab in Pakistan, Salman Taseer, died in a hail of assassin's bullets yesterday. His offense? Telling fellow Muslims not to be so quick to take offense. Taseer opposed the zeal behind the country's blasphemy legislation, and was killed for it by one of his own bodyguards.
Taseer publicly vented his opposition — even using Twitter — to Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws that effectively order death for anyone convicted of insulting Islam. Although courts typically overturn convictions and no executions have been carried out, rights activists say the laws are used to settle rivalries and persecute religious minorities.
People accused of blasphemy are often killed by extremists or spend significant amounts of time behind bars. In some cases, the charges border on the ridiculous: A man was recently held because he threw away a business card of someone whose first name is Muhammad.
Pumping two dozen bullets into a man's back proves one's devotion to God. Killing people is good if those people dare draw funny pictures of your warlord-prophet, or if they do not revere a piece of paper with said prophet's name on it. I'm amazed that I'm still amazed by this vile, deadly nonsense.
By the way: If Allah were real and Mohammad/Mohammed was truly his puppet prophet, I'd think the two of them wouldn't so much mind the disposal of the business card; they might, however, have a real fucking problem with the fact that "more parents around the world name their children Muhammad than any other name." Really now: Every second or third mediocre-earthling Muslim boy is given the name of the Man Most Holy to Islam, and somehow that's not sacrilegious?