Facebook ‘praise’ for Pakistan assassination!

via AFP published on January 5, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Jan 5, 2011 (AFP) -Hundreds of Facebook users welcomed thekilling of liberal Pakistani politician Salman Taseer as a strikeagainst reformers of the country’s tight blasphemy laws.The Punjab governor was shot on Tuesday by one of his guards,26-year-old Mumtaz Qadri, who confessed to the murder because ofTaseer’s vocal opposition to the law that was recently used tosentence a Christian woman to death.

Analysts say the assassination underscores how deeply religiousextremism has penetrated Pakistan’s conservative society, with eventhe Internet-literate elite resorting to Facebook to rally support forthe killer.

Nearly 2,000 Facebook users joined one group on the social networkingsite praising Qadri, and dozens of “fans” joined other pages set up inQadri’s honour in the hours after the shooting.All the pages had been removed by Wednesday. Facebook was notimmediately reachable for comment.

But other private account holders used their Facebook status updatesto make comments such as: “We salute you Mumtaz Qadri,” “thank God he(Taseer) is not alive (any) more” and praise for the attacker as “asoldier of Islam”.

In a sign of mainstream media opposition, Pakistan’s leadingUrdu-language newspaper, Jang, ran a front-page story declaring:”There should be no funeral for Salman Taseer and no condemnation forhis death.”

“A supporter of a blasphemer is also a blasphemer,” said asub-heading, reporting that 500 religious scholars and clerics hadpaid tribute to Qadri.

A lawyer from Islamabad’s high court, Farooq Sulehria, told AFP thatthe assassin would find no shortage of support.”We will provide all legal support to Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, we willfight for him in the court,” said Sulehria. — afp

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