In what court of law in the world can you go before a judge and plead not guilty for murder because you were defending your religion? It seems that in Pakistan a cleric believes that is what you can do because he has announced a $1 million bounty for killing the cartoonist in Denmark that drew the Muhammad cartoons. (There were actually eight different people who drew the cartoons.) In other words he is announcing to the world that he is ordering a hit on someone because he didn’t like the cartoon they drew. Not even a hit out of vengeance because they killed his family or another Muslim but because he drew a political cartoon.
In Pakistan, the cleric Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi said the mosque and the religious school he leads would give a $25,000 reward and a car for killing the cartoonist who drew the caricatures — considered blasphemous by many Muslims. He said a local jewelers’ association would also give $1 million, but no representative of the association was available to confirm the offer.
“This is a unanimous decision by all imams of Islam that whoever insults the prophets deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize,” he said.
Go yourself and see the cartoons at Wikipedia and make a judgment that in the name of protecting a religion from any kind of criticism, the people who drew the cartoons should be killed. I think those in the world community who have bent over backwards to try to appease the anger of Islamic believers over the publishing of free speech protected political cartoons need to rethink their retreat from criticism by people who do believe it is O.K to murder and assassinate people who dare to criticize their religious beliefs.
Whatever saner and wiser elements exist in Islamic believers need to speak up to condemn this assassination contract offer. The Pakistan government needs to denounce this terrorist threat and should arrest the cleric and shut down the mosque and the religious school he leads unless they retract their assassination offer. What they do will be a true test of whether the Islamic
Community is ready to be part of a civilized world.
As I’ve said before the Western world is no paragon of purity. Millions have been killed in the name of religion by people in non-Islamic countries over the centuries but that does not mean we should ignore these current threats to freedom of belief and freedom of speech. One should never get a free pass to murder someone else because they hold different beliefs.
Likewise we should never give up free speech because what we say might offend someone. Tolerance does not mean silence. Those that want to restrict free speech really are afraid of people raising questions. Tolerance does not mean turning a blind eye to injustice or inhumane actions. Just because you have a religious belief does not make you immune from living in a world with humane laws that include not killing another person because they don’t believe the same as you do. Religious tolerance does not mean turning a blind eye to injustice or condoning murder in the name of someone’s religion. That is why people need to speak against this current assassination contract in the name of religion. It is not morally justifiable and needs to be condemned!