In a recent post, I included a link to the speech Imam Rauf gave at the memorial service for Daniel Pearl. I only faintly remembered his kidnapping and death…and so I did what I always do to fill in the blanks. I googled it.
And I came upon the website of his wife, Mariane Pearl. She’s written a book, A Mighty Heart. There is info about the book on her website. I read most of the essays there. The following excerpt is from “Why Good Hearts Must Go Public.” When her husband Daniel Pearl was kidnapped she was disheartened the Pakistani people were silent.
During this ordeal, I was surrounded by individual Pakistanis and Muslims as courageous and beautiful as those terrorists appeared ugly and without souls. I can never be grateful enough for their graciousness, a ray of hope in the midst of darkness. In the five weeks when I waited in Karachi for Danny to come back to me and our unborn son, the Pakistani police reported at least 11 killings of Shiite Muslims in Karachi alone. Those slain were mostly doctors and professionals. Sectarian terrorists were pursuing their work of destruction. They were planting even deeper the seeds of fear in the hearts of people, making the silence of the majority even more painful to hear. Such fear and terror can destroy a society. When I finally had to acknowledge Danny's bloody murder, I decided not to leave Pakistan right away. I wanted to show defiance against fear. In those days, absorbing the murder of my husband, I received the most heartfelt letters of support from all over the world. And finally I heard from the majority in Pakistan as it abandoned silence.
Pakistani people wrote to me about their feelings. "May God give you strength. Danny's murderers are not Muslim and should be brought to justice." They shared their shame with me: "I am really saddened by the news and astonished that a Pakistani brother can do this." There were beautiful letters printed in Karachi's English-language weekly, The Friday Times. "Danny Pearl is not just a dead American journalist," a writer stated. "His suffering in our midst has made him a martyr to the Pakistani people. He died because Pakistan's enemies could not bear to see the country retake the course of tolerance and moderation that its founding father envisaged." Then I heard about a Web site in which Pakistanis bravely signed their names to a letter of condolence. They wrote: "We unequivocally condemn the perpetrators of this enormity: they are a plague to Pakistan, and the majority of her citizens would prefer to see their kind destroyed." At last count, the signatories numbered 3,767.
Just a side note here…
In many of the discussions I have been involved in about Islam, Muslims, the mosque, terrorism…a common criticism is that the moderate Muslims do not speak up and condemn the radicals. Well, according to Mariane Pearl 3,767 (as of April 2002) spoke out…and signed their names. They did this publically. They did it in a country where it actually endangered their lives. I wonder how many of those critics of moderate Islam would be brave enough to do the same thing? And she continues….
Pakistani letter writers had left aside prejudices and appreciated my husband as an individual. One writer commented, "Your husband had a great smile -- a happy mixture of Pope Paul and Dean Martin."Check out her website. You will find information about her books…her son Adam and the life they’ve made since the death of Danny.
Most captured the sentiments of a writer who called Danny's murder "a crime against the people of Pakistan." These voices give me the strength to believe that the hope of a modern, strong Pakistan still lives and that the people of Pakistan will help me see that justice is done. I'm told there is a hadith, a saying of the Prophet Muhammad, that tells Muslims that if they see an evil they should act to remove the evil. If they cannot do that, they should speak against the evil. If not that, then they must condemn the evil in their hearts.
The strongest expression, however, is to act against evil. In memory of Danny and for the future of our son, who is almost here, I also want to ask the people of Pakistan to act upon the sentiments they have expressed and build a memorial for Danny in Karachi. I will bring our son to this memorial and tell him this is the land where his father died, but that the people here stood by us so that his death would not be in vain.