Monday, January 10, 2011

Awais Aftab on Islamism

Salman Taseer
(Image from Wikipedia)

Recently, Salman Taseer, the secular governor of Pakistan's Punjab Province, was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, Mumtaz Qadri for his outspoken opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law, which mandates the death penalty for anyone who insults the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Concerning Mr. Qadri, we should note a particular point:
Taseer's self-confessed killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was associated with the moderate Barelvi sect, according to one his colleagues. The Barelvis originated in India in the 19th century to defend traditional Islam and many practices and rites associated with the mystical Sufi strand of the faith.

Five hundred Barelvi scholars warned that anyone who expresses grief over Taseer's assassination could suffer the same fate.
This was from the report "Pakistan: Punjab governor's assassin 'linked to Islamic group'" in Adnkronosinternational (January 5, 2011), and the notable point to be focused upon is the fact that the Barelvi sect to which Mr. Qadri belongs is considered moderate in Pakistan. Yet, not only did this moderate Mr. Qadri murder Mr. Taseer, 500 moderate Barelvi scholars threatened the lives of any who mourned Mr. Taseer's death.

A brave correspondent from Pakistan, Mr. Awais Aftab, who mourns Mr. Taseer despite the credible warnings of 'moderates', has written to my friend Bill Vallicella and has had a message posted on Bill's blog, Maverick Philosopher. In that post, Mr. Aftab links to his own blog, A Myth in Creation, which has this to say about The Islamist Consensus:
The varieties of Islam that are being used in discourse these days are "Fundamentalist/Orthodox Islam" and "Liberal/Moderate/Progressive Islam". Whenever Western thinkers criticize[d] Islam at any point, the objection came up [from Muslims:] "Oh, no, the fundamentalists are just a minority. There is also the Moderate Islam. Talk about us; we are nice people." And that was what was assumed by most, and which even West had to concede to [this] in the name of political correctness. However, the current circumstances in Pakistan surrounding the murder of Salman Taseer have revealed something entirely different. Turns out, the silent majority, when it has spoken, doesn't belong to Liberal Islam. Surprise, surprise, they all uphold fundamentalist ideology. The Fundamentalist Islam not only has a sweeping consensus of followers, it also has a well-developed theology, with all the references to Koran and Hadith & Sunnah worked out in detail. The Liberal Islam, in contrast, is not only in an exceeding[ly] small minority, it also lacks any consensus, it has barely any prominent scholars to point to, and it has no well-developed theology. Most of the proponents of Liberal Islam are actually young kids, who barely have an adequate knowledge of theology to compete in the religious discourse. One single properly referenced Hadith from a Fundamentalist can deflate a Liberal's case. Yes, it's that easy.
I propose that Mr. Aftab's point supports my own previously stated point, namely, that "Islamism is radicalism at the core of Islam." The Islamists, as Mr. Aftab notes, have "a well-developed theology, with all the references to Koran and Hadith & Sunnah worked out in detail." By contrast, "[l]iberal Islam . . . lacks any consensus, . . . has barely any prominent scholars to point to, and . . . has no well-developed theology."

People used to refer to economics as the "dismal science" because those who studied it found it so depressing, but today's dismal science is surely the study of contemporary Islam . . .

UPDATE: I received a note from Mr. Aftab:
[M]uch gratitude for this post. Can you, however, remove my picture from it? I'm going to take it off from my blog as well. Probably not very safe in these times.
For this reason, I have removed Mr. Aftab's photo and replaced it with Mr. Taseer's photo.

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At 4:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you care about the victims of Pakistan's blasphemy law, please help spread the word about Asia Bibi's plight - a Christian wife and mother 3 years in prison on death row for asking Muslim neighbors the question: "Our Jesus died for our sins; what has Muhammad done for you?" when they tried to force her to convert to islam.
She has been sentenced to death by hanging for speaking these words.


Salman Taseer was killed for trying to defend her. So was Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan's government.

At 7:16 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Let's hope that people see your post.

Jeffery Hodges

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