Anyone who has been to New York City during the summer can attest to the heaviness and stickiness of the sickly summer air. However, as I entered my taxi to go home the other night, slightly stumbly, I didn’t quite realize how much ‘stickier’ and ‘heavier’ the circumstances were about to become.
The naturally gregarious individual that I am (joking), I started speaking to my cab driver. We exchanged pleasantries politely and respectfully.
He turned to me with a smile and said, “Indian, right?” To which I responded, “yes, my family is from India.” He then proceeded to tell me that he was from Pakistan and had lived in the United States for over twenty-seven years.
I asked him how he felt about the current state of Pakistan, given the horrific Jihadist violence that just the other day led to over seventy people dead in the city of Quetta.
I also asked him about the huge problems of extreme religiosity that have gripped the nation, including the murder of Salmaan Taseer in 2011.
For those of you who are unaware of the episode, Salmaan Taseer was the governor of the Pakistani state of Punjab. While he was governor, a Christian woman residing in Punjab was convicted of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, after she reportedly got into a dispute with some local Muslim women.
Needless to say, these charges were levelled under the most dubious of pretexts. The court sentenced her to death, as death is the punishment handed out to blasphemers under the Sharia, or Islamic law.
Salmaan Taseer bravely spoke out against this sentence and against blasphemy laws in general. As punishment for these most egregious transgressions, Salmaan Taseer was gunned down by his own bodyguard on January 4th, 2011.
This particularly mischievous bodyguard was a man by the name of Mumtaz Qadri, who sought to avenge so-called crimes that Salmaan Taseer committed against the Prophet Mohammed.
As a result, Mumtaz Qadri was hung to death by the Pakistani state on February 29th, 2016.
Which brings me back to my conversation with my Pakistani cab driver. When I asked about the case, my cab driver said, smiling, “Salmaan Taseer made a blunder against Islam. Mumtaz Qadri was a good man.”
It was quickly dawning upon me that I was in, shall we say, inhospitable territory, and that this man, without any beard nor any other obvious Islamic dress, was an extremist.
He proceeded to tell me some most illuminating things, such as the fact that in Islam, the, “tongues and throats must be cut,” of people who insult Prophet “Mo.” All this while keeping a straight face and without the slightest qualms that I might react rather unsympathetically.
He asked me if I had read the Quran, to which I replied in the affirmative. He asked how I could not be a Muslim yet, after reading the Quran. “It is the perfect book, how can you not see that? Why have you not yet gained tawheed (belief in Allah)?” he asked in complete earnest.
After proceeding to mention his absolute certainty that one day the entire earth will embrace Islam, I realized that this was a discussion that I should be recording.
We went back to the subject of Mumtaz Qadri, which is the point at which my recording begins. I showed him the photo of Mumtaz Qadri’s funeral (shown below), during which a massive throng showed up to pay their respects. The BBC claims it to be a crowd of 30,000 but I will let you all decide whether that number even approaches reality, given the fact that we can’t even see the end of the crowd.
Oh, and for comparison, the number of people who came to the funeral of Salmaan Taseer was reportedly in the mere, “hundreds.”
My cab driver turned to me, again smiling, and replied, “Of course there were so many people at the funeral. He was a good man for Islam.”
In this short recording of my taxi driver, we learn that it is forbidden to kill in Islam (unless you kill a blasphemer, apparently), and that alcohol is bad, because it might tempt one to, “touch his sister,” when he comes home after a long night out.
Upon leaving the taxi, I was aghast, to put it mildly. How could such a perfectly nice person believe in such uncompromising nonsense in 2016? How many other people are there in the West who share these beliefs? And, most importantly, how do they feel when Islamist terrorists kill Western nonbelievers?
You can listen to the clip below. I apologize for the bad audio quality, but I think it should be intelligible at sufficient volume.