by the Night Writer
Pakastani Minister of Minority Affairs Shahbazz Bhatti was assassinated this week by radical Islamists over his opposition to the blasphemy laws. It was the second assassination in two months of a leading opponent of the blasphemy laws.
A Catholic, Bhatti’s life had been threatened many times since he accepted his office in 2008. He was undaunted in the face of these threats, honoring his faith and openly citing his desire to live up to the example of Jesus Christ. “Jesus is the nucleus of my life,” Bhatti said in 2008, after accepting the Minority Affairs portfolio, “and I want to be his true follower through my actions by sharing the love of God with poor, oppressed, victimized, needy and suffering people of Pakistan.”
In an interview with the freedom of expression group First Step Forum four months ago (and broadcast here, I believe, by Al Jazeera), he spoke of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ made for the oppressed and that he understood “the meaning of the cross.” He vowed not to give in to the “dark forces” of extremism and said he was ready to lay down his own life for the sake of his fellow Christians and all other oppressed minorities in Pakistan.
Naturally, he was too dangerous to be allowed to live.