Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the suspected killer of a Pakistani governor, shouted to supporters as he left court on Wednesday in Islamabad. Mohammad Riazur Rehman/Associated PressIf you needed any help understanding what a cesspool of ferocious, mindless, violent religious fanaticism Pakistan is, the recent assassination of Punjab province governor Salman Taseer and its aftermath should finally make that clear. Taseer was an outspoken secularist, and had dared to campaign against Pakistan’s vicious blasphemy law. The New York Times filed this report at the time of his assassination (WebCite cached article):

[Taseer] recently took up a campaign to repeal Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy laws, which were passed under General Zia as a way to promote Islam and unite the country. The laws have been misused to convict minority Pakistanis as the Islamic forces unleashed by the general have gathered strength. The laws prescribe a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

His own security guard, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, killed him for having done so:

His attacker was identified as Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, an elite-force security guard, who surrendered to the police immediately afterward and implied he had killed the governor because of his campaign to amend the blasphemy laws.

“I am a slave of the Prophet, and the punishment for one who commits blasphemy is death,” he told a television crew from Dunya TV that arrived at the scene shortly after the killing, according to Nasim Zahra, the director of news at the channel.

One would think Pakistanis might view the killing of a public official by his own security detail to be an act of treason. But no. Qadri has been lauded as a hero to Pakistan and to Islam, as the New York Times Lede blog subsequently reports (cached article):

As my colleagues Waqar Gillani and Carlotta Gall report [cached] from Pakistan, a police officer suspected of killing a prominent secular politician on Tuesday was showered with rose petals by Islamist lawyers on his way in to court in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Photographs and video show that the suspected assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, was draped in a garland of flowers by supporters before he entered the court, and emerged from the hearing still wearing it.

Even so-called “moderates” are praising Qadri for his murderous treason:

Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported [cached] that more than 500 religious leaders from what Reuters called “a relatively moderate school of Islam in Pakistan” issued a statement forbidding their followers from mourning for the murdered governor. “No Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for Salman Taseer or even express any kind of regret or sympathy over the incident,” the scholars declared. They added: “We pay rich tributes and salute the bravery, valor and faith of Mumtaz Qadri.”

What this means is that no one can rationally argue that it’s just “the lunatic fringe” within Pakistan who praise Qadri … the country’s “middle ground” is doing so, as well.

How wonderful. What better example does one need of the danger of religiofacism?

Photo Credit: Mohammad Riazur Rehman/AP via New York Times.

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