Washington Post coverage here.
Writes Margaret Cabaniss at Inside Catholic:
Last month I blogged about Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic politician in Pakistan who had been courageously speaking out against the anti-blasphemy laws in that country, even in the face of death threats. “I follow the principles of my conscience, and I am ready to die and sacrifice my life for the principles I believe,” he said at the time.
Horribly, maddeningly, that sacrifice has come to pass: Bhatti was murdered this morning in Islamabad.
[G]unmen opened fire on his car while travelling to work through a residential district.
Mr Bhatti, 42, a leader of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), had just left his home when at least two gunmen ambushed his car, police official Mohammad Iqbal said. He was rushed to the nearby Shifa hospital, but was dead on arrival. . . .
The first Christian to hold a cabinet post in Pakistan, Mr Bhatti spoke about the threat facing him last month, during a visit to Canada to raise awareness about his country’s blasphemy laws. He said: “I have been told by pro-Taliban religious extremists that if I will continue to speak against the blasphemy law, I will be beheaded.”
It’s so easy for us to take our own security and freedom for granted; that someone could expect to be murdered simply for speaking out against unjust laws is practically incomprehensible to us.
Indeed it is. That’s why I am rather grateful that the Supreme Court ruled today that even funeral protestors are protected by the first amendment. If we start picking away at what speech is allowed and what is not, we will be doomed.
RIP, Shahbaz Bhatti — a Catholic martyr for freedom, which cannot exist without free speech, and witness to Christ.
Condolences to his family. May God be with them.
As Allahpundit noted, this is the second man killed for the “crime” of daring to oppose blasphemy laws.
Vatican Condemns Murder