Islamic apologist Eboo Patel here retails a few Islamic traditions that involve Muslims protecting dhimmis -- which is understandable, since the dhimma itself is a contract of "protection," in which the non-Muslims submit to Islamic hegemony and are denied certain rights in exchange for a general guarantee that they will not be killed. But if a non-Muslim insults Islam or Muhammad, that protection is forfeit, or not extended in the first place -- and clearly that is the situation in which Shahbaz Bhatti found himself in by opposing the blasphemy law, and that is why he was murdered.
If Eboo Patel dealt honestly with the incidents in Muhammad's life in which he ordered the assassination of his enemies and rewarded those who carried out the orders (and there are others besides this one -- notably the killings of Asma bint Marwan and Abu Afak), and said that Muslims today should not follow Muhammad's example in such instances, then he might qualify as a reformer. As such, when he ignores these incidents altogether and apparently relies on his audience's ignorance of them, he is just another deceiver. After all, Muhammad said that also: "War is deceit."
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?"
Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?"
The Prophet said, "Yes."
Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab)."
The Prophet said, "You may say it." [...]
When Muhammad got a strong hold of him, he said (to his companions), "Get at him!" So they killed him and went to the Prophet and informed him. (Abu Rafi) was killed after Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf.
"Shahbaz Bhatti assassinated: murder is not prophetic," by Eboo Patel in the Washington Post, March 2:
This morning, Shahbaz Bhatti, minister of minorities and the sole Christian in the Pakistani government, was shot to death. Mr. Bhatti had recently campaigned to reform a blasphemy law in Pakistan which calls for the death of those who speak against the Prophet Muhammad.
Undoubtedly, some will say this is Islam. It's not. It's murder. Plain and simple.
The Prophet Muhammad made it a clear priority that people of other faiths and traditions would feel safe around him and his companions.
In 628 CE, the Prophet granted the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai a charter of privilege, which among other rights, ensured their right to practice Christianity, self-govern, and be protected in times of war.
In another story, the Prophet allowed a group of Christians to pray in his own mosque.
Through history, Muslims have followed this tradition of protecting those from other faiths and backgrounds....
The Prophet made it clear that people of other faiths and traditions ought to feel safe around Muslims, and that it was a Muslim duty to protect others as they would one another.
It is staggering to see extremists who call themselves Muslims brazenly defy this very clear tradition of the Prophet they claim to follow.
That's a brazen enough sentence for Patel to have written, given how he is ignoring the very clear tradition of his Prophet that I quoted above.