By Mateen Elass, on his personal blog.
One of the most pressing questions on the world stage today is: Who represents true Islam — the moderates or the radicals? American Muslims are overwhelmingly moderate, but they represent just a fraction of the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. One can also point to other countries where Muslims are in the minority and see those populations as relatively peaceful. But given the fact that since 9/11 Muslims have perpetrated almost 28,000 terrorist attacks across the globe and that the Islamic world as a whole has not made any concerted efforts to root out the causes of these attacks within their own teachings, it’s hard to believe that the moderates wield much influence within their religion. Sadly, the masses of Muslims around the world often seem to cheer on the radicals rather than deplore them
Just over five years ago I wrote a post on the arrest of Asia (pronounced Aasiya) Bibi, a native Christian woman arrested by the Pakistani government under the charge of blasphemy, punishable by death if convicted. In that post, I detailed the elements of this blasphemy law, all geared to defending Islam and its prophet from anything smacking of defilement, so I won’t repeat that here.
In the midst of the pro-Islamic fervor sweeping that country, one influential Muslim politician stood up to challenge that law, arguing that it was being used unjustly to punish non-Muslims, and especially Christians. The man, Salman Taseer, was a senior member of the ruling party of Pakistan, and governor of Punjab province. He spoke out concerning the legal abuse being done to Asia Bibi under the blasphemy statute, and even went to visit her in prison upon her conviction of blasphemy in November 2010.
Mr. Taseer was not lauded by many for his courageous efforts to amend the blasphemy statutes so as to prevent their usage unjustly to persecute non-Muslims. In fact, he raised the ire of most Muslim religious authorities by his stance, and less than two month after visiting Asia Bibi, he was gunned down by one of his own security guards, who shot him 27 times in the back as the governor was walking back to his car after a lunch meeting.