Monday, June 18, 2007

More religious nuts. This time they're Muslim.

Someone must be sprinkling cashew dust around all the religious nuts these days.
The award of a knighthood to the author Salman Rushdie justifies suicide attacks, a Pakistani government minister said today.

"This is an occasion for the 1.5 billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision," Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, religious affairs minister, told the Pakistani parliament in Islamabad. "The west is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the 'sir' title."

This from a country that calls itself an ally in Bush's War On Terra™.

Before anyone in Pakistan gets too carried away with their own importance they need to be reminded that they created a safe haven for Taliban and al Quada fighters in Warziristan.

This is the same country playing mumbly-peg with nuclear weapons. Never mind Iran. Pakistan is unstable and on the brink of a coup. Now, religious edicts are being issued... by the Pakistani parliament.

All that aside, this looks like an attempt to deflect attention inside Pakistan from the real problems. Pervez Musharraf is on the brink of being toppled. When he dismissed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry in March of this year, the country erupted in violent protest. Musharraf has placed restrictions on the press and news media, only to have to suddenly lift them when it sparked even more ugly demonstrations.

Musharraf, still commands the army while sitting as an unelected president, a near violation of the Pakistani constitution. He hopes to retain power by holding presidential elections before he dissolves parliament and the provincial legislatures in November. He has also said the that none of the exiled opposition leaders will be allowed to return to Pakistan ahead of the elections.

Add to all of that, Pakistan has been suffering from the worst electricity shortage in memory sparking even more riots by large groups of the population.

But they've got nuclear bombs.

Condoleeza Rice enters the picture with a Bush *hearts* Musharraf message.

U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has signalled the Bush administration's steadfast support for Pakistan's struggling leader but also expressed worry about the country's rising violence and called for stronger rights for opposition groups.

Rice's meeting with Foreign Minister, Khurshid Kasuri, yesterday came as Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, faces the biggest political crisis of his eight-year rule, with thousands taking to the streets to demand the President relinquish power.

That won't help Musharraf and should set off a whole new set of riots.

The condemnation of Britain for awarding a knighthood to Salman Rushdie is one of two things: Either the Pakistanis are trying to deflect attention from extreme internal problems or, there is a thought in Karachi that Pakistan can actually lead the Muslim world.

Either way, it highlights the problems of a theocracy. Foreign policy based on religious beliefs. And before any Christian fundamentalists get on their high-horse, don't for a minute think you are any better.

Since Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq has just called for suicide bombings, we can all assume that in the Global War on Terror, he is now on somebody's hit list. Or at least on a no-fly list.


I didn't think so.

H/T Cat

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