Tuesday's intriguing people
Accused killer and Pakistani bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri, wearing garland, addresses a crowd outside court after an appearance.
January 11th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Mumtaz Qadri

He did it all in the name of fighting blasphemy.

Qadri's supporters consider him a hero for defending Islam. His home is now a shrine, and he was been showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in court, according to the Washington Post.

Monday, the 26-year-old policeman pleaded guilty in a Pakistani court to murdering Salman Taseer, Punjab’s provincial governor.

Qadri said he killed Taseer because of the governor’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which dictates that criticism of the Prophet Mohammed is a capital crime. Thousands of people have demonstrated in support of the law and at the rallies, banners supporting Qadri have been present.

"Mumtaz Qadri sacrificed himself to protect the sanctity of our prophet, and every one of us here is ready to do the same thing," a seminary student and protester told the Washington Post.

The assassination, which has sparked outrage from some, also has "quickly united and emboldened a broad spectrum of Islamic groups," according to the Washington Post.

Shimon Waronker

His vision is one that might make a parent or teacher's head spin - and that's sort of the nature of what he's trying to do by turning the traditional classroom environment upside down.

The premise behind the New American Academy in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, aims to change the way teachers learn how to teach and students learn. Ironically, it's done by putting a massive group of students in one room with a few teachers. And Waronker has chosen a school where poverty is rampant and 20% of the students have some sort of disability. It's team teaching taken to the max. It's the opposite of the idea that many schools have followed, that smaller classrooms and smaller numbers of kids will yield better results.

During a visit to the school, The New York Times visited a first grade class with 60 kids and four teachers.

"The school stresses student independence over teacher-led lessons, scientific inquiry over rote memorization, and freedom and self-expression over strict structure and discipline," the Times says.

Waronker recognizes he's made a few mistakes along the way. It's loud, needless to say, and the idea of hiring only one master teacher and other novice teachers is something he plans to change by hiring more experienced teachers the next time around.

“I put added stressors that shouldn’t have been there,” he said, but added he believes changes will make it work to become a model for others around the country.

Boris Gasparyan, Gregory Areshian and Ron Pinhasi

They weren’t hunting for the perfect pinot noir, but UCLA archaeologists and their team of researchers have uncovered a winery outside a mountain village in Armenia - over 6,000 years old.

The winery, about 1,000 years older than other previous finds, contained fairly well preserved vine leaves, seeds and crushed grapes from 6,100 years ago, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"The cave was never looted and never disturbed," UCLA archaeologist Gregory Areshian, who was co-director of the excavation effort, told The Wall Street Journal. "It gives us this wonderful preservation of artifacts and organic remains."

The find, according to the WSJ, could be "evidence that the quest for a decent red may be as old as civilization itself."

soundoff (12 Responses)

    My pick? That's easy. Ronald McDonald.

    January 11, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. bob dob

    how about those Broncos!

    January 11, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. Syed Z. Hasan

    There is no doubt that Islam and its Prophet have enemies who would do and say any malicious things that they can come up with. However, death sentence for any criticism of the Prophet is quite un-Islamic, because the Prophet himself did never order a death sentence for anyone who attacked or insulted him during his lifetime. He always forgave such people in the hope that they would realize the wrongs of their ways and rectify themselves. Indeed God sent him to mankind not to judge or punish us, but to warn us about the hereafter since God wanted to give us the opportunity to rectify ourselves. When someone is killed that opportunity is taken away from that person, while only God Himself has the right to make that decision. The blasphemy laws of Pakistan therefore stand in God's ways and need amendment for that reason. The moderate Muslims of Pakistan need to confront the extremists not from a western ideological standpoint, but from the standpoint of the true interpretations of Qur'an and Sunnah.

    An article of interest on this point can be found on: "http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Blasphemy-and-the-Islamic-way/articleshow/7248000.cms"

    January 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      amen! i feel that many religious people these days are hypocrites. no religion says kill someone who doesn't agree with your religion. i am christian myself but don't agree with those christians who protest at funerals and tell other people that god hates them, when the christian faith is about forgiveness and loving your fellow man. leave the persecutions up to your own god instead of taking matters into your own hands. i don't find this murderer a hero

      January 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      yes but the muhammad also waged wars against those who opposed him and spread his religion with the sword. And in the hadith the punishment for apostacy is death. Groups of apostates were massacred during muhammad's time and he specifically ordered the death of individual apostates within his own social group. a religion with a tenet such as this should expect its adherents to frequently kill for blasphemy, if only by mistaking it for a step towards apostasy.

      January 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff

    A nut job kills a supposedly liberal government official after listening to violent right wing rhetoric. All too familiar.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • nutjobJeff

      Nut job Jeff is wrong here. The wacko who shot the politician here is a "fringe" Muslim, not mainstream. And we're just imagining what we're reading about the throngs who are throwing roses on him and calling his house a shrine.

      January 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. neal amby

    My condolences goes out to all of the families who lost loved ones this past saturday.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bu

    Religion is a disease of the mind! Help cure the religion disease!

    January 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth

      You spout lines of baseless rhetoric in hopes of frightening others away from self examination, exploration, and discovery? It would be amusing if it were not quite so sad. After all, the easiest responce to something you don't understand is fear, avoidance, and rebellion.

      Good luck to you, and all.

      January 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. markie p

    they say the bible is word of god. but in reality it was written by man who supposedly was influenced by god. whos to say prophets back then werent on opium ? or that these are just stories collected over time in order to shape a peaceful civilization? the point is religion is exactly what they say it is , faith. therefor no one will know the real truth until death

    January 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. david

    we live.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |