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Tyranny ancient & modern

Mrs BibiTell me how this act of totalitarian violence in Pakistan is any less evil than the burning of protestant heretics or the execution of Soviet class-enemies. Today, in democratic Pakistan, a Christian mother of five is denounced by some Muslim women for allegedly saying disparaging things about Mohammed – a Muslim religious figure to whom the Christian woman has no connection or loyalty – and a court in Pakistan condemns her to hang for blasphemy.

And it is no better if you are a non-Muslim living in a Christian county – think of Theo van Gogh, murdered by a Muslim in broad daylight in Holland for producing a film critical of the treatment of women under Islam. On the knife was a note saying that his co-producer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was next. She is doubly guilty in Islamic eyes – being also an ex-Muslim and therefore worthy of death for apostasy – and has lived with a constant bodyguard since 2004. Not that her spirit is crushed by this Islamist intimidation, as her appearance on Lateline attests.

And the response from the freedom-loving West to this increasingly thuggish intimidation? Understandable timidity from political leaders, and rare courage from individuals who refuse to be silenced. Yet these rare proud members of the free world are too often the victims of outrageous show-trials before the West’s preciously misguided “human rights commissions”.  See the cases of Ezra Levant and the magnificent Mark Steyn in Canada, Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria, and even our own Christian (ex-Muslim) pastors in Melbourne.

Islam as a spiritual way to humility and reverence should be a beautfiul thing. Islamism as a political ideology is as much a curse and existential threat as communism ever was. It is to be condemned and confronted, especially by any Muslim worth the name. Our political response demands deep understanding of the religious-political philosophy of islamism, and serious analysis as to whether a uni-cultural supremacist theocracy is compatible with a self-governing democracy. If it is, then all is well. If it is not, then we need to take measures now to limit the potentially islamist population before we reach the tipping point faced in Europe. It would be the grossest political negligence to delay until a critical mass of jihad-minded young men call Australia home.

UPDATE:

Apparently, after a worldwide petition and an appeal by Pope Benedict and world leaders, the Pakistani Christian mother of five has been “pardoned” by the president – a condescending act which means her ‘guilt’ remains, and the disgraceful law lives to terrorise another day.

Ponder that scene – the Christian woman in a Muslim land, the death sentence for ‘blaspheming’ Mohammed, the Christian leader’s appeal, the presidential ‘pardon’ – as a tangled tale of two civilisations.

P.S. Hmmm… maybe it is not so clear that a pardon has been granted after all.

UPDATE:

Apparently the more jihad-minded Muslims think the President has gone soft by pardoning Asia Bibi, and one Imam has offered 500,000 rupees to anybody who murders her:

A hardline pro-Taliban Muslim cleric offered a reward Friday for anyone who kills the Christian woman sentenced to death on charges of insulting Islam. The case of Asia Bibi has renewed debate on Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which critics say is used to persecute religious minorities, fan religious extremism and settle personal scores. Maulana Yousef Qureshi, an imam in Peshawar, offered a reward of 500,000 rupees ($5,853) and warned the government against any move to abolish or change the blasphemy law. “We will strongly resist any attempt to repeal laws which provide protection to the sanctity of Holy Prophet Muhammad,” he said.

UPDATE:  5th January 2011

Apparently the even more jihad-minded Muslims think the Governor of Punjab has also gone soft on the blasphemy laws – after all, this man had publicly pleaded for Mrs Bibi! He had condemned the Taliban and the blasphemy laws, knowing he was putting his life at risk.

“Taseer showed himself to be a rare politician, willing to risk his life in espousing an unambiguous position against discrimination and abuse,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at US-based Human Rights Watch.

So yesterday he was murdered by his own bodyguard who confessed that he killed the governor “because he had called the blasphemy law a black law”. Now this holy warrior can claim his monetary reward from the imam mentioned above…

Consider the implications: if a Christian woman ‘blasphemes’ by allegedly saying disrespectful things about Mohammed, she is to be judicially murdered. If a civil and courageous Muslim political leader condemns this barbarity, he, too, is murdered in the name of Islamic purity.

Most disturbing of all is the response from some leaders in Pakistani society: the alleged murderer is showered with petals by sympathetic lawyers as he enters court, with the leader of a ‘moderate’ group of 500 Muslim scholars paying “glorious tribute to the murderer … for his courage, bravery and religious honour and integrity.”

“The supporter is as equally 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.”

Lesson learnt: that murder and the threat of murder remains the modus operandi of islamisation, used to deal with politicians whether European (Geert Wilders) or Muslim, not to mention journalists like Daniel Pearl, cartoonists like Kurt Westergaard, film-makers like Ayan Hirsi Ali, writers like Salman Rushdie and even satirical TV shows like South Park. Everywhere this is the barbaric tactic which will terrify politicians and free-thinkers throughout the world.

Serious people must ask themselves: is this ancient religious hatred and devotion to ‘conquest by the sword’ only a passing phase, probably the white man’s fault in some way, which will all come good if we just chill out about sharia and pass more anti-vilification laws? Can the passionate adherents of this worldwide jihad be reasoned with by us infidels, and their ideology overcome by patient appeal to the virtues of secular self-government? If such notions are patent self-delusion, then how in the world are we to maintain our tradition of multicultural hospitality, without leaving ourselves hostage to this religious hatred?

UPDATE March 11th

Now that the only Christian in the Pakistani cabinet, Shahbaz Bhatti, has also been murdered for his opposition to these barbaric blasphemy laws, and the government has been terrorised into silence, it appears the game is up and Pakistan has descended into the circle of Islamist states. At least that is the grim conclusion by Sadanand Dhume in The Australian today:

Ostensibly secular, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party supported both Kashmiri militancy and the Afghan Taliban in the past. In its current incarnation it appears permanently cowed by the country’s legion of vocal fundamentalists. President Asif Ali Zardari failed to attend the funerals of either Taseer or Bhatti. His government has made it clear it will not touch the controversial blasphemy law. Interior Minister Rehman Malik declared he would personally kill anyone who dared blaspheme Muhammad’s name. As for Pakistan’s undeniably brave activists and intellectuals, unfortunately they appear to have more admirers overseas than among their compatriots.

Pope Benedict’s response again sounds the note of sweet reason in contrast to the raging mob mentality of fundamentalist Islam. Not that that will give pause to the moral-equivalence multicultural-mush commentators in the secular West.

And Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali responded as someone raised in Pakistan and who knew Minister Bhatti:

Extremists are now operating with impunity in every part of the country. The constant teaching of hate in the text books, in sermons and devotionals in radicalised mosques and madrassas and on the streets is the background to this situation. Moderate Muslim opinion has been cowed by the ever-present threat of violence and the non-Muslim communities are helpless in the face of unwillingness by the Government and the army to really tackle extremism. The Christian community, which has contributed out of all proportion to its numbers in the fields of health and education, is feeling very insecure.

And now, will the government permit the judicial murder of Mrs Bibi after all, a blood-sacrifice to appease the baying mob?

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