Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s federal minister for minorities, was assassinated today by Islamic extremists determined to bring down Pakistan’s civilian government.
According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Bhatti used his office “to obtain government assistance for victims of the worst instances of religiously-motivated mob violence, to advocate publicly for reform or repeal of the blasphemy laws, to gain increased public attention to the concerns of the religious minorities, to secure increased employment opportunities in public service for members of religious minority communities, and to promote religious tolerance.”
He was shot 30 times by three men. His driver survived the attack.
Newsweek has a chilling account of Mr. Bhatti’s assassination and the immediate reaction to it in Pakistan. Included in the report is the message left behind by Mr. Bhatti’s assassins:
“This is a warning from the warriors of Islam to all the world’s infidels, Crusaders, Jews and their operatives within the Muslim brotherhood,” it reads, “especially the head of Pakistan’s infidel system, [President Asif Ali] Zardari, his ministers, and all the institutions of this evil system…..In your fight against Allah, you have become so bold that you act in favour of and support those who insult the Prophet. And you put a cursed Christian infidel Shahbaz Bhatti in charge of [the blasphemy laws review] committee. This is the fate of that cursed man. And now, with the grace of Allah, the warriors of Islam will pick you out one by one and send you to hell, God willing.”
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