Tiny Minority of Extremists Update: 2,000 joined a group praising the assassin; 70 became fans of a group denouncing him. “Facebook ‘praise’ for Taseer’s assassination,” from AFP, January 5 (thanks to Ron):
ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of Facebook users welcomed the killing of liberal Pakistani politician Salman Taseer as a strike against reformers of the country’s tight blasphemy laws.
The Punjab governor was shot on Tuesday by one of his guards, 26-year-old Mumtaz Qadri, who confessed to the murder because of Taseer’s vocal opposition to the law that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death….
Nearly 2,000 Facebook users joined one group on the social networking site praising Qadri, and dozens of “fans” joined other pages set up in Qadri’s honour in the hours after the shooting.
All the pages had been removed by Wednesday. Facebook was not immediately reachable for comment.
But other private account holders used their Facebook status updates to make comments such as: “We salute you Mumtaz Qadri,” “thank God he (Taseer) is not alive (any) more” and praise for the attacker as “a soldier of Islam”.
In a sign of mainstream media opposition, Pakistan’s leading Urdu-language newspaper, Jang, ran a front-page story declaring: “There should be no funeral for Salman Taseer and no condemnation for his death.”
“A supporter of a blasphemer is also a blasphemer,” said a sub-heading, reporting that 500 religious scholars and clerics had paid tribute to Qadri.
But voices also came out to denounce the gunman, and Facebook page named “I Hate Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri” had 70 “fans” with no comments or discussions….