Islamist terrorism wanes in Pakistan, but religious fervor threatens national unity

Source: The Washington Post

 By voting last week to revoke an honor bestowed on the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize in science, Pakistan’s National Assembly opted for political expediency in the face of a fast-rising Muslim group that denounces members of the late physicist’s faith as blasphemers.

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Abdus Salam, who died in 1996, was a member of the Ahmadiyya minority sect, and no politician was eager to challenge the Muslim group, known as the Movement in Service to the Prophet. So lawmakers decided to take his name off a renowned physics center.

But on Sunday, when a young member of the movement shot and severely wounded Pakistan’s interior minister at a public gathering, there was immediate condemnation across the political spectrum and a flood of horrified comments on social media.

“This menace of hatred will destroy everything,” tweeted former foreign minister Khawaja Asif. “For God’s sake, we have to work together for our country.” In another tweet, Afrasiab Khattak, a retired senator and a human rights activist, warned, “Weaponizing religion is a path to horrible disaster.”

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