Salman Taseer’s murder highlights nothing but the small-mindedness of a microscopic faction of extremists who do not value justice. It is, in all earnest, an assault on the integrity of the Islamic faith.
As I write this post, I am constantly distracted by the footage on my television screen. I suspect that a crippling sense of mortification has impeded my thoughts from finding utterance. But I am convinced that if I surrender to this feeling of embarrassment, I will ultimately be admitting my defeat to those rabid elements that are brainwashing innocent minds into believing that Islam is under threat from Western secularists and their followers. It is important to immediately challenge this misapprehension in case these elements grow stronger.
It has been reported that Salman Taseer’s disapproval of the Blasphemy Law enraged the ‘anti-secularists’ and possibly led them to orchestrate this murder. But it is important to note that the conflicts of interest that provided the impetus for this political murder are nothing more than a discrepancy. The Blasphemy Law is a contentious legislation that has been misinterpreted and oftentimes misused just to secure parochial interests. Its implementation is equally questionable as there no feasible mechanism to determine the veracity of any allegation of heresy.
One can easily distinguish this from the popular legal adage that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. The ‘anti-secularists’ may argue that other legislations – perhaps those that account for criminal offences such as murder or rape – are also subject to misuse. But it is essential for them to realize how ineffectual a line of reasoning this is. After all, accusations of committing blasphemy are technically an assault on having the courage the voice an opinion. They are, in essence, a threat to democratic principles.
Intriguingly, the Prophet of Islam understood this point of view at a time when the philosophical connotations of democracy were not as thoroughly enforced as they are today. He did not condemn skeptics and naysayer or take their criticism as umbrage. Instead, it spread the message of God in a way that appealed to them and progressively brought them into the fold of Islam. Then why is it that these fanatics feel obliged to abrasively defend any attacks on Islam when their Prophet exercised nothing but forbearance in the face of criticism?
Salman Taseer alluded to the Blasphemy Law as a “kaala Qanoon” (black law). This term of reference appears only logical and justified. Firstly, it reflects on how the law defeats the purpose of defending Islam against vile attacks by perpetuating injustice and intolerance. The statement thus implies that Islam is steadily losing its intrinsic character of peacefulness. Secondly, it indicates how the Muslim World has veered further away from its secularist tendencies. (A historical overview of governments in the Islamic World in the 10th century will verify this approach)
Therefore, it can be concluded that Salman Taseer’s assassination is a major turning point for the Islamic world and the fact that many elements within it are possibly pleased by his death is shameful.