Very depressing news from Pakistan about Salman Taseer being shot by one of his own bodyguards. While the bodyguard was clearly influenced by his religious beliefs to commit cold-blooded murder, it would seem that he’s had ample encouragement from his religious leaders as well:
A prominent group of Islamic scholars said that the funeral prayers should not be offered and warned that anyone who expressed grief for Taseer could suffer the same fate.
The Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat Pakistan group represents scholars from the mainstream Barelvi sect of Sunni Muslims. Although considered moderate, they have led protests in favour of the blasphemy law.
“More than 500 scholars of the Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat have advised Muslims not to offer the funeral prayers of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, nor try to lead the prayers,” the group said.
“Also, there should be no expression of grief or sympathy on the death of the governor, as those who support blasphemy of the prophet are themselves indulging in blasphemy.”
At times like this, it’s hard to disagree with Christopher Hitchens’ view that “religion poisons everything”.