“We have a very, very severe polarization in the country,” said journalist and author Ahmed Rashid, an expert on the Taliban and radical Islamism. “We have a small minority of extremists and small number of liberals speaking out, but the very large silent majority are people who are not extremist in any way but are not speaking out.”
This is my impression with many Muslims. Many “moderates” do not agree with violence and thuggishness, but at the end of the day they won’t put their own skin on the line to defend those who the extremists attack and kill. They should perhaps read a bit of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. More:
Maulana Fazalur Rehman, the leader of Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazal, a Deobandi religious party, which left the federal cabinet last month, seemed to issue a veiled warning to supporters of Mr. Taseer, saying that sympathizing with a blasphemer was just as extreme as blasphemy itself.
More than 500 religious leaders of Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat, a leading Barelvi religious party, forbade its followers to either pray or attend the funeral prayers for Mr. Taseer, reported Jang, the country’s leading Urdu newspaper in its Wednesday issue.
“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,” read a statement attributed to the religious clerics.
In Lahore, Muhammad Ibrahim, 25, a recent graduate who owns his own shop, was typical of ordinary citizens who did not condemn the assassin. “We are Muslims and nobody can compromise on the dignity of the Prophet,” he said. “Salman Taseer crossed the limits,” he said.
Half a dozen policemen interviewed while on duty around the city of Lahore voiced support for the assassin or refused to condemn the murder. “He acted according to his conscience,” one said. “What is done is Allah’s will,” another said. The policemen spoke to a journalist without giving their names.
Islamphobia is rational. Sorry. Until “moderate” Muslims start to declare they too are Salman Taseer, corrupt and illiberal as he himself was, they’re irrelevant.