This is yet another illustration of why we must win the war against Islamo-fascism. If we lose heart, as some already have, what happened to Zilla Usman will eventually happen to women throughout the West.
Zilla Huma Usman, the minister for social welfare in Punjab province and an ally of President Pervez Musharraf, was killed as she was about to deliver a speech to dozens of party activists, by a "fanatic", who believed that she was dressed inappropriately and that women should not be involved in politics, officials said.
Usman, 35, was wearing the shalwar kameez worn by many professional women in Pakistan, but did not cover her head.
The attack happened in Gujranwala, 120 miles southeast of Islamabad, where the minister's office is based. As Usman, 35, stepped out of her car - where she was greeted by her co-workers throwing rose petals - the attacker pulled out a pistol and fired a single shot at close range, hitting her in the head. She was airlifted to hospital in the provincial capital Lahore, but died soon afterwards.
The gunman, Mohammad Sarwar, was overpowered by the minister's driver and arrested by police. A stone mason in his mid 40s, he is not thought to belong to any radical group but is known for his fanaticism. He was previously held in 2002 in connection with the killing and mutilation of four prostitutes, but was never convicted due to lack of evidence.
Sarwar appeared relaxed and calm when he told a television channel that he had carried out God's order to kill women who sinned. "I have no regrets. I just obeyed Allah's commandment," he said, adding that Islam did not allow women to hold positions of leadership. "I will kill all those women who do not follow the right path, if I am freed again," he said.
"He is basically a fanatic," Raja Basharat, the Punjab Law Minister, said. "He is against the involvement of women in politics and government affairs." A police statement added: "He considers it contrary to the teachings of Allah for a woman to become a minister or a ruler. That's why he committed this action."
"He killed her because she was not observing the Islamic code of dress. She was also campaigning for emancipation of women," said Nazir Ahmad, a local officer.
Usman, a married mother of two sons, joined the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League after being elected in 2002. A strong supporter of the President's policy of "enlightened moderation" - designed to tackle extremism - she was appointed to her current post in December last year according to her government biography.
A culture which gives a slap on the wrist to rapists, which turns a blind eye to "honor" killings, which punishes children by driving automobiles over their arms,
which hangs teenagers for being homosexual,
and which produces people who believe they're doing God's will by killing women who don't "know their place", is not just retrograde and dysfunctional. It's diseased.
Yet it is just such a culture as this which the Islamo-fascists wish to impose on the whole world, and they are prepared to use whatever means necessary to do it.RLC