These groups have defied threats by the Pakistani military to remove them physically from their sit-ins in front of, or even inside, government buildings. Tehreek-i-Labaik’s leader, Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, known as a firebrand, has been the uncompromising organizer and public face of this protest, ranting against what to most of us would seem the most minor of infractions.
We have all heard Pope Francis over the years repeatedly utter disturbing words of praise for Islam. Some have wondered if perhaps he was playing a subtle game, trying to convince Muslims to be not as they are, but as he described them– to “measure up” to the Pope’s imaginary Islam. Others thought he was simply ignorant.
When Polakow-Suransky claims that “populist” leaders (a subdued synonym for “right-wing”) are “rebranding” themselves “by depicting Muslims as the primary threat” to “Jews, women and gay people,” don’t we have a right to reply that’s it not a question of “rebranding,” but of stating the truth: aren’t Muslims in fact the “primary threat” today to all three?
When Justin Trudeau, like so many others, calls attempted mass murder by a Muslim a “senseless act of violence’” it is not the attack that is devoid of sense, but the formulaic phrase “senseless act of violence” that is itself senseless and, even worse, prevents us from making sense of what has happened.
Carlos Khalil Guzman is a “revert” to Islam who is now going about the country, taking pictures of cheerful, fresh-faced smiling Muslims, each of whom is asked to choose a favorite verse in the Qur’an, or a saying by Muhammad in the Hadith, and to explain why he, or she, has made that particular choice.