Over and over again I see my friends shake their heads and say, “Yes, Qadri is a terrorist and should hang for his crime. But we should not be in the streets because how do you think the fundos will react? It will mean more violence.”
Perhaps they are right. Perhaps a strong showing of solidarity with Salmaan Taseer’s vision for a compassionate and merciful justice system would so enrage these brainwashed fundamentalists that they would strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up in our mosques and our shrines. Perhaps they would be so outraged at our request for common decency and humanity that they would take to the streets with weapons and shoot down innocent women and children. Perhaps they would even be so bold as to make a direct attack against the state by gunning down government officials in broad daylight.
Oh, that’s right – they already are doing this.
I hear that supporters threw flowers to Mumtaz Qadri as he entered the courtroom. These jihadis are so brazen that they feel no shame, they fear no consequences for showing their allegiance to such evil in open public. Why would they? When was the last time a self-proclaimed compassionate liberal stood up for his principles?
Oh, that’s right – it was yesterday. And the jihadis shot him for it.
The difference between Salmaan Taseer and the rest of us wasn’t his famous glasses or his businesses or his political office. It was his willingness to live and die for his beliefs.
Jihadis are willing to die for their twisted perversion of religion. Do we not have the courage to stand up for ours?
This is when my more fundamentalist brothers ask me, “what, exactly, are your liberal principles.” This is a question liberals love to fight about, but I suggest that really its quite simple. Let’s start with the names of Allah…
الرحمن – The Compassionate
الرحيم – The Merciful
السلام – The Source of Peace
الغفور – The All Forgiving
الودود – The Loving
Salmaan Taseer died because he demanded compassion and mercy. Are these not two of the names of Allah? Are these not worth standing up for? I suggest that these are the principles worth standing up for openly, publicly, and without shame.
Dr Awab Alvi asks a good question in today’s Express Tribune: Have we given up on Pakistan? The good Doctor hopes that we have not. I share his hope, but the answer we must decide together.
Another question we must ask ourselves is: Are there more reasonable, right-thinking people than there are of brainwashed fundamentalist jihadi killers? If there are, we need to start acting like it.
I still believe in the goodness inherent in Pakistan. I still believe that inherent in the promise of Jinnah’s dream of an Islamic nation are those names of Allah – Compassion, Mercy, Peace, Forgiveness, Love.
I still believe that we are able to come together and sacrifice for the good of the nation. I have seen it only recently when we pulled together to help our countrymen who were devastated by the floods. Where is that same sense of loyalty and nationalism when it comes to defending our very sovereignty from violent attacks?
The 15 January protest against blasphemy laws has been canceled in light of yesterday’s events. While I sympathize with the thinking, I cannot help but wonder if this is the right decision. If we stand down every time the jihadis make a noise, we will be herded like sheep to our doom.
Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseeer’s security was infiltrated and he was gunned down by a brainwashed jihadi in the streets of Islamabad. The killer and his supporters have been openly unapologetic, even celebratory about this attack. This was more than simply an attack against one man for daring to demand compassion and mercy, this was an act of war on reason and on the state. Will we defend our homeland or will we lay down in our beds as the dream of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is murdered in the streets?