A sad day for Pakistan and progressive Islam. A close associate of Javaid Ghamidi– perhaps the best known Pakistani exponent of enlightened (I hate the word “moderate” – it such a Western construct!) Islam was shot yesterday. It is not just a threat to Ghamidi and his Institute Al-Mawrid but a direct attack on the voice of reason in world’s second most populous Islamic country.

Ghamidi’s scholarship and voice, backed by the increasingly free electronic media has been challenging the face of Islamism in the recent years. His fierce rejection of non-state jihad, opposition to man made, misogynist laws and several other retrogressive mores sanctified by a dubious clergy – was a major stride in contemporary Pakistan.

The editorialtitled “Islamophobia of Muslims” from the Daily Times states:

“The incident will have the effect of scaring off most people emboldened by Ghamidi outspokenness. It was a shot across the bow that we know will succeed because it has been the modus operandi of the Islamists all over the world. They accuse the West of suffering from Islamophobia, from a bias against Muslims that is based on irrational fear. Indeed, the term has rightly been accepted by liberals in the West who warn their societies against acting out of hatred for a community that is not composed of just terrorists. But the reality of fear among Muslim societies cannot be denied too. Moderates and courageous intellectual nay-sayers are not tolerated. They are often attacked and subjected to physical injury. Western institutions are full of such people simply because they could not live in their own societies and survive.”
This is outrageous, unacceptable and needs to be condemned.
The business as usual desensitisation to violence has to change!