Qasim Rashid | All Articles
We’ve all heard the old adage – those who don’t learn from the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.
Some 50 years before terrorists brutally murdered him because they believed him an infidel, Mehdi Ali Qamar was born a Muslim. But by the age of 10 Pakistan’s government declared him an infidel, an apostate, and in the opinion of many extremist clerics — worthy of death. But that didn’t deter him. By the age of 20 Pakistan’s government declared Qamar a criminal, liable to fine and imprisonment — only because he yet insisted on calling himself a Muslim. But that didn’t deter him. And even when Pakistan’s government added a death for blasphemy provision to the law just a few years later — giving state sanction to the previous ‘worthy of death’ opinion — Mehdi Ali Qamar fearlessly marched forward, undeterred.
With Ayaan Hirsi Ali in an uproar over her unvitation from Brandeis University, and Richard Dawkins beginning his American tour, what better time to invite them to work together to promote pluralism and tolerance? And just for kicks, my invite includes Sam Harris — who is likewise no stranger to demonizing Islam.
Imagine if you picked up your morning paper and the news story read “Judaism’s inadvertent effects on adherents.”
Some 1400 years ago the unjust Meccan government criminalized the Qur’an. They arrested, beat, and murdered those who insisted on reading it. Today, another unjust government has criminalized the Qur’an and once again, those who insist on reading it are arrested, beaten, and murdered.
Al Qaeda, Taliban extremists, and Mike Huckabee have at least one thing in common — all believe Islam is a violent religion. In a recent tirade, Huckabee wondered, “why it is that we tiptoe around a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called holiest days. … the most likely time to have an uprising of rock throwing and rioting comes on the day of prayer on Friday.”