Another Dead Blasphemer

| by Malhar Mali |

Yesterday a man lost his life in Pakistan because of what he wrote on a social network. Mashal Khan, who identified as “The Humanist” on Facebook, was beaten, shot, and tortured to death by a homicidal, righteous mob of students and university affiliates at Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, Pakistan while police officers watched. His alleged crime? Blasphemy. Khan was accused of promoting the Ahmadiyya faith on social media. Though he repeatedly denied the claim to his accusers, the mob set onto him nonetheless.

Ahmadiyya Muslims are a religious sect within Islam who consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be the awaited messiah (Not Muhammed). Incidentally, they are the sect who congregate to condemn terrorist attacks in Europe — the same faction, as Douglas Murray points out, who the left-wing media swoon over while failing to note that they are in fact a persecuted religious minority in the Muslim world.

If you’re inclined towards this type of terminology, Ahmadis are the victims of Islamic “Islamophobia” towards Muslims from Muslims. To get a Pakistani passport, one must sign a declaration stating that they consider Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. Ahmadiyya Muslims are also regularly harassed, targeted, and in some instances killed simply for their faith. Remember the murdered Muslim shopkeeper in Glasgow, Scotland, Asad Shah? The incident which some speculated was a hate crime in the wake of growing animosity towards migrants and foreigners in Europe? His death was actually attributed to sectarian violence (Shah was an Ahmadi). His murderer, Tanveer Ahmed, killed Shah because he felt the shopkeeper had “disrespected Islam.” Why? Ahmed said in a statement:

“This all happened for one reason and no other issues and no other intentions. Asad Shah disrespected the messenger of Islam the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Mr Shah claimed to be a Prophet.”

The situation is far more dangerous in Muslim majority countries. There are millions of dissidents, religious minorities, ex-believers, and liberal and secular Muslims who live in fear of voicing their opinions. A mob descending upon you and beating you to death for what you may have merely said is not an obscure fantasy born out of paranoia. It is a reality. Wherever religious dogma, inflexible doctrine, and demagogy are accepted and celebrated, free thinkers and those who deviate from the norm are not free.

Do these individuals receive assistance, guidance, or even a semblance of a thought from “progressives” here? Rarely. Usually, no. Self proclaimed “progressives” in western countries, rather, titillate themselves by watching shows like The Young Turks and patting each other over their backs by repeating mantras of, “Nothing to do with Islam,” and “Islam is the religion of peace.” They convince themselves that behaviors like blasphemy mobs, stoning for adultery, and detonating one’s self in a crowd of children have nothing to do with the religious beliefs people hold.

They are unable to grasp that all religions — simply a set of beliefs — are not equally bad. Some are worse than others. When confronted with events such as blasphemy mobs these “progressives” either splutter “Islamophobe!” and “racist” in response, or scamper to find imaginary links between Western foreign policy and a group of angry men beating someone to death for allegedly promoting an esoteric faith which is no truer than their imaginary one.

But by discounting the religious — belief based — motivations for such heinous actions, these people effectively state that brown people are subhuman illiterates willing to act like barbarians and succumb to their basest tribal instincts and kill people for stepping outside accepted norms of thought. They posit that brown people are born this way and act this way without provocation or motivation. Who are the real racists?

Beliefs matter. If you genuinely believe with everything in your being that someone posting words on Facebook which promote another faith over yours is a grave offense to the holiest figure in your life — in all of Allah’s beautiful creation, of course you’re more willing to engage in such abhorrent actions. Do the chants of “Allahu Akbur” (God is great) give that away yet? Will that ever give it away?

To “progressives” all these points don’t matter. They will go to astronomical lengths, delude themselves, and twist each other around in knots to discount the religious — belief based — motivations for these instances, and free thinkers, atheists, secular and liberal Muslims, gays, transexuals and women will continue to live under oppression. And I don’t use that word lightly.

However, when they hear that a Christian assailant shoots up an abortion clinic they will clamber over one other to blame Christianity as his motivation. When they hear Dylan Roof killed black people because he was a white supremacist, they will rightly attribute blame to the ideas he holds.

I doubt they’ll ever make the same link with what they see as the brown man’s religion. Why? To them the West is the worst. It did atrocious things years ago so it must hold its tongue. It must repent for colonialism, imperialism. It must refrain from passing judgement. Besides, in their eye racism, sexism, homophobia, “Islamophobia,”  and transphobia are rampant in the western world and must be called out.

I suppose I must take my own prescription and accept that beliefs matter. If these “progressives” really believe that western countries are awash with bigotry, and the specter of every negative ism and phobia hides around every corner, I can see how they can focus excessively on trivial concerns — often fabricating and imagining slights to pretend they live in abhorrent conditions.

But while they do, human beings are being sacrificed on the altar of 7th century values and norms. Rest in peace, Mashal.

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Malhar Mali writes about secularism, human rights, politics, and culture. He is the Editor at Areo. You can connect with him on Twitter @MalharMali or via email at malhar@areomagazine.com 

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[Author’s note: I incorrectly identified Asad Shah’s murder as having occurred after the Brexit vote. The article has been updated to remove reference of Brexit]

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Comments

comments

9 Comments

  1. Fred

    SJWs also believe in violently attacking people whose speech they do not like. They justify it because they are “oppressed”

    Hitler was oppressed by the Jews
    Muslims are oppressed by non-Muslims and the wrong kind of Muslim
    SJWs are oppressed by the whole world

  2. Mike De Fleuriot

    He did die, in a painful and fear filled manner, but in the end he was the one who won the discussion. When they are forced to kill us, we become the winners of the moral ground and of the discussion. Poor reward for Mashal but an example of how bad religious thinking always is.

  3. Randy

    “Yesterday a man lost his life in Pakistan because of what he wrote on a social network. ”

    This is one reason why it is essential that we encourage the development of anonymous blogging — not the sort of blogging where you don’t volunteer information about yourself, but the kind of blogging that is technologically very hard to de-anonymize without that voluntary disclosure.

    Even in the West, there are people who WOULD say some things, but it would threaten their job (usually) or their home, or their family, or in some cases even their freedom or their life. And there are people who DO say some things, only to have their speech deleted and banned.

    It ought to be not only possible, but trivially simple, to say a thing on the internet, permanently, and without repercussions. It’s a terrible shame that this hasn’t been enabled yet by all our technologies.

  4. Ralph Deeds

    Me either. You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!

    “South Pacific” musical. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

  5. Mo Woods

    I’m not sure we can blame evolution…more like mob hysterics…..although, on second thoughts, a kind of evolution could account for it. If someone had tried to step in to help the man….he/she would have been murdered too….that’s a cert.

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