Celebrated British columnist Michael Wharton (“Peter Simple”of the Daily Telegraph) once wrote to the effect that the Anglican Church seemed determined to drag itself down to a level so far beneath contempt that there was no expression to adequately describe it.
Readers may contemplate the following story — I mean “narrative” — and decide for themselves whether or not he was exaggerating.
In Sheikhupur, Pakistan in June, 2009, a poor Christian woman, Assiya Noreen, mother of five children, who were the only Christian family in her village, was harvesting berries in a field with a group of Moslem women. She was asked to fetch water for the others. She did so, but stopped to take a drink from an old metal cup she had found lying next to the well. It turned ouit this was a Muslim cup and her fellow workers attacked her for this. She was said to have declared “I believe in my religion and Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?”
She and her children were beaten by an enraged mob. The police who attended arrested her for blasphemy. She was held in prison for more than a year before being formally charged. And was sentenced to death. The Lahore High Court rejected an appeal. She is still in prison while further appeals are heard. Consider the ghastliness not only of her situation, but that of her husband and children, peniless, without support, resources or protection, in a fanatically hostile community.
The Governor of the Punjab, Salman Taseer, attempted to defend her and criticised the verdict and the blasphemy laws. As a result on 4 January, 2011, he was assassinated by his own bodyguard, Malikl Muumbaz Hussein Qadri, a man sworn to protect him. Thousands rallied in support of the murderer and oath-breaker (Qadri was hanged earlier this year). Five hundred clerics pronounced that it was forbidden to send condolences to Taseer’s family. Taseer’s 28-year-old-son was kidnapped, held prisoner, and only found five years later. Prison officials said that Noreen “wept inconsolably” on learning of Taseer’s assassination while repeatedly saying, “That man came here and he sacrificed his life for me.”
Taseer was not the only martyr in this case (and for once the word is appropriate). Pakistan Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who also supported Noireen, said that he was first threatened with death in June 2010 when he was told that he would be beheaded if he attempted to change the blasphemy laws. He maintained that he was “committed to the principle of justice for the people of Pakistan” and willing to die fighting for Noreen’s release. On 2 March 2011, Bhatti was shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car. He had been the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet.
Now, among those supporting the murderer Qadri were extremist Islamic clerics Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman, who have recently started a seven-week tour of Britain, allowed into the country by its very multicultural conservative government. After all, the culture that cheers the revolting murderer and betrayer of a heroically brave and decent man is, to a true relativist, surely as valid and valuable as any other. Just the thing the UK needs more of, in fact.
It gets better and better: One of the first things that Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman did when they arrived in the UK last month was to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
And what did the Archbishop do? He welcomed them in Lambeth Palace and claimed in impeccable Sam Flannel language that the meeting would strengthen “interfaith relations,” as well as (you can’t make this up) address “the narrative of extremism and terrorism.” Never mind the narrative of the Christian Assiya Noreen, facing death after seven years rotting in a stinking cell for professing Christ and drinking out of a Muslim cup, or the narratives of the brave Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti who tried to help her and tried to move Pakistan forward into the Enlightenment of the 18th century.
Extremism and terrorism? Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman both took an enthusiastic stand in Pakistan in support of Mumtaz Qadri. That is, they supported the murderer. There is a video of Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman delivering a hysterical speech in support of Mumtaz Qadri whileMuhammad Naqib ur Rehman looks on approvingly from the platform.
Then there is a video of Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman, in turn whipping up the vast crowd of mourners after Mumtaz Qadri’s richly-deserved execution. During his speech he repeatedly refers to Qadri as a shaheed or martyr. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral, and afterwards rioted, chanting slogans such as “Qadri, your blood will bring the revolution” and “the punishment for a blasphemer is beheading.”
After Qadri’s execution, Haseeb ur Rehman said on social media, “Every person who loves Islam and Prophet is in grief for the martyrdom of Mumtaz Qadri.”
Shahbaz Taseer, the son of the Salman Taseer, is among those who have criticized these creatures being allowed into Britain:. “These people teach murder and hate,” he has said. “For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in. It’s countries like the UK and the US that claim they are leading the way in the war against terror [and] setting a standard. Why are they allowing people [in] that give fuel to the fire they are fighting against?”
And our Anglican Archbishop and his church? No doubt they will survive this hobnobbing with something about as chemically close to pure evil as it is possible to get. Whether Anglicanism deserves to is another matter.