Where are the moderate Muslims? There was one ...

A common criticism against Islam is that there isn't enough condemnation from moderate Muslims when a fundamentalist Muslim does something terrible. (The same sort of criticism can also be made against other religions, notably Christianity.) In my opinion, it's raised a bit too often even when not justified, although sometimes it is, but there's at least one case where the criticism would definitely not apply: a Pakistani governor was murdered by an extremist Muslim for opposing draconian blasphemy laws.

It won't matter if no moderate Muslim ever speaks up condemning this vile act, this is one case where the "moderate Muslims stay quiet" criticism would just earn a bop on the head from me, since it was precisely because he was a moderate Muslim speaking out that got Salman Taseer killed by an intolerant extremist. I may not have agreed with his beliefs, but I respect him enormously for standing up against intolerance. He should not have had to pay the ultimate price for it.

Nonsensical criminalization of religious criticism

Dozens of Islamic nations show how little they actually care about human dignity as they attempt to pass a UN resolution restricting religious criticism. Really, criticizing a religion is more of an affront to human dignity than incarcerating or even executing people because they criticize a religion? This is such a thinly veiled attempt to shield Islam from valid criticism, and they know it. Somehow I doubt the Islamic nations would be so eager to restrict the public censure of a religion for free speech: I suspect many of them would actively suppress anything like this, in fact.

(Anyone want to establish a religion worshipping free speech?)

Saudi Arabian king preaching religious tolerance

There's a bit of cognitive dissonance hearing that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, one of the most religiously oppressive countries in the world, both officially and unofficially, made a speech about the need for religious tolerance. But condemning him as a hypocrite might be far too premature. If he really wants to spread religious tolerance within Saudi Arabia, he'll have enough trouble dealing with domestic elements that will strongly resist such efforts. He doesn't need the rest of the world to pile on him, too.

On the other hand, if it's just a thinly veiled attempt to decry criticisms of Islam, Saudi Arabia would deserve all the scorn it will get. I just hope that this is not the case. I hope the speech is part of his baby steps as he tries to make his country freer. Unfortunately, I do not know about the king well enough to have an opinion one way or the other.