Last Sunday a mosque outside Baltimore reportedly honored the assassin of a Pakistani statesman who criticized his country’s blasphemy law.
According to Ehsan Rehan in the Rabwah Times, an online Pakistani newspaper often specializing in religious persecution reporting, here is what happened:
The Gulzar E Madina Mosque in Pikesville, Maryland hosted an “Urs” in honor of the infamous killer on February 12th. Urs is a traditional commemoration usually given to Saints and Holy personages. The Mosque also advertised the event in the February 9th edition of Urdu Times, America’s most widely distributed Urdu language newspaper.
Salman Taseer was governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province when he was killed in 2011 by his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri for criticizing Pakistan’s law prohibiting blasphemy against Islam. Specifically Taseer had defended Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman under death sentence since 2009 for supposedly insulting Islam. Another senior Pakistani statesman, Shahbaz Bhati, was also assassinated in 2011 for publicly defending her.
The killer, who shot Taseer 27 times, was unrepentant and was widely supported by protests until his execution under Pakistani law last year. His grave has become a pilgrimage site, and a popular mosque in Islamabad is named in his honor. (Read more from “Baltimore Mosque Celebrates the Murderer of a ‘Blasphemer'” HERE)