Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'd Rather Live in America

I've been following a story that has made the recent tragedy of a shooting spree in Arizona seem tolerable.  I would like to compare these two stories side-by-side
Gabrielle Giffords Salman Taseer
PositionA member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The governor of province of Punjab in Pakistan.
PoliticsA moderate/left-leaning politician A left-leaning politician
ControversyNone, really. She supported Obamacare but she is actually quite moderate: supports gun rights and stronger immigration laws.Defended a poor Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was condemned to death for blasphemy.  He also was outspoken against the anti-blasphemy law
AttackWas shot by Jared Loughner, a mentally disturbed young manWas shot and killed by Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who was part of Salman's security detail 
ReasonNo reason was given, but apparently Jared was unhappy with a letter Gabby wrote to him in 2007 regarding questions he had asked her at a public meetingMalik was more forthcoming with his reason: he didn't like Salman's opposition to the blasphemy law in Pakistan
ResponseJared was immediately arrested and is being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Additionally, his civil rights are being respected by being assigned a high profile defense attorney, Judy ClarkeMalik was arrested but his supporters blocked the attempts by the police to bring him before a judge.  They also threw rose petals on him [1].  He has been called a hero by religious groups [2].
Why I'd rather live in AmericaEven though there was some unwarranted finger pointing of blame for the attack, there was still universal condemnation of the attack. There was wide spread acceptance of the attack on Mr. Taseer.  The blasphemy laws are so oppressive that even questioning them is blasphemy.  There is little legal recourse since hearsay is sufficient to convict since the stated blasphemy cannot be presented in the charges or in court since doing so would be blasphemous.  


"Staring into the abyss: Pakistan's increasing radicalisation", The Economist, January 8th-14th, 2011

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