The scene today in the streets of Pakistan is all too familiar: Christians weeping for a martyr and shouting for their rights.
This time it's over the assassination of Shabaz Bhatti. On Jan. 4, it was for Punjab Gov. Salmaan Taseer and in December 2007 they marched over the murder of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Bhutto was a friend to Christians and an advocate of minority rights. Both Taseer and Bhatti called for the release of convicted Christian Asia Bibi, a woman ordered executed for committing blasphemy against Mohammed. They also spoke out against Pakistan's archaic blasphemy law.
Bhatti meeting with the husband and children of Asia Bibi:
These assassinations accentuate what many people of reason already know: Pakistani Islamists are at war against Christians and their secularist friends; it's a fight over two very different visions for the country's future.
Bhutto, Taseer, and Bhatti advanced a vision of a Pakistani society where the rights of Christians and others would be respected, opposing views would be tolerated and perhaps even encouraged. Their shared vision was of a Pakistan where democracy and opportunities for females and minorities would flourish.
The Islamists envision a country where only their voices and views are deemed acceptable and appropriate. In their vision of Pakistan, women like Asia Bibi are executed without reasonable evidence of guilt. It's a Pakistan where opposing voices like those of Bhutto, Taseer, and Bhatti are silenced by assassination.
The Islamists are suppressing the voices of reason. Pakistanis must take bold action against them and people of reason around the world need to speak out loudly in one voice to ensure that Shabaz Bhatti's life and death were not in vain.
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