Calling Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy ‘jahil’ can only happen in Pakistan

Published: October 30, 2013

After reading the correct phrases from the book myself, it was easy to see that the thesis prepared by Orya and Abbasi against Malala, for allegedly ‘supporting’ Rushdie and Ahmadis, was all based on fabrications.

A few days ago, a fierce verbal battle took place between the guests on a talk show called “On The Front” hosted by Kamran Shahid. The bone of contention was the book called ‘I am Malala’ authored by the 16-year-old herself. The guest speakers included, Orya MaqboolAnsar Abbasi, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zafar Hilaly.

With regards to the topic at hand, the conversation began with Orya Maqbool and Ansar Abbasi giving their view on the book. Highly sensationalised words were used by the two, and common ground was reached with Malala being framed as offensive towards Islam.

Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy interjected stating that he had also read the book but did not find anything against Islam in her book as claimed by the other guests. He suspected either they had not read the book attentively or were deliberately trying to malign her.

The past animosity between Dr Hoodbhoy and Ansar Abbasi fueled a debate that turned into an ugly verbal brawl on national television, with insensitive comments being exchanged by both parties. Meanwhile, Orya yelled out, rather loudly I might add, appealing to the audience to open the book in question and confirm from page 30 that Malala had written these words,

“He (Salman Rushdie) has [sic] all the right under freedom of expression, but my father said that we should write a book against him.”

Visibly astonished, Dr Hoodbhoy asked, in a calm tone, if Orya Maqbool had the book in front of him from where he had read that particular excerpt. He further asserted that there was no statement in her that was in support of Rushdie.

At that, Orya insisted that these were, in fact, the exact words taken from her book and continued to incite religious sentiments through his sermon against Malala.

During the program, Malala was also accused of favouring Ahmadis in her book. Dr Hoodbhoy, once again, denied the allegation leveled against Malala stating that this was a lie and not written anywhere in the book.

After watching the show, I opened Malala’s book myself and found no statements which Orya alleged were in there. Contrary to the text quoted by Orya, Malala has written,

“My father also saw the book as offensive to Islam but believes strongly in freedom of speech. ‘First, let’s read the book and then why not respond with our own book,’ he suggested.”

Similarly, Malala has mentioned Ahmadis in these words,

“Now we are a country of 180 million and more than 96 per cent are Muslim. We also have around two million Christians and more than two million Ahmadis, who say they are Muslims though our government says they are not. Sadly those minority communities are often attacked. [2]”

After reading the correct phrases from the book myself, it was easy to see that the thesis prepared by Orya and Abbasi against Malala, for allegedly ‘supporting’ Rushdie and Ahmadis, was all based on fabrication.

The text quoted by Orya Maqbool happened to be a blatant lie and the exposition of this dishonesty, in effect, justifies Dr Hoodbhoy’s position along with proving his stance as correct.

Ansar Abbasi repeatedly referred to Dr Hoodbhoy as a ‘jahil’ for advocating Malala while Zafar Hilaly, the diplomat, gracefully avoided saying a word in the already hostile environment.

Ansar Abbasi posed to highly sensitive questions towards Dr Hoodbhoy and then went on to tarnish his reputation as a professor by stating,

“Aik aisay jaahil ko, jis ko parhaanay kay ooper lagaya huva hai hamaray aik prime institution main. Mujhay nahi samajh aati ye jaahil waha’n kiya parhaata hoga.”

(“An ignoramus who has been chosen to teach at one of our prime institutions, I don’t understand what this ignoramus teaches there.”)

Not only was this brouhaha terribly ugly for the audience, it was incredibly unprofessional for the news channel to let it stay on-air when the arguments had become personal and out-of-control. Kamran Shahid should have exhibited better control over his own show and should have prevented it from happening.

I was in possession of the book and was able to verify the facts for myself, however, those among the audience who have not read the book will be inclined to believe the misleading statements made on this show. This debacle served as a bitter reminder of how Salman Taseer was deliberately framed by an irresponsible talk show such as this, as a blasphemer.

What was even more unsettling was the way the host, Kamran Shahid, seem to have taken a backseat during the entire conversation and started giggling when the guest speakers started exchanging insults. He allowed the open use of abuse and hate speech on his show and merely laughed when Dr Hoodbhoy walked off the show.

On Monday, the students of the department of Physics at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad called in a meeting to discuss what had transpired on the show. They maintained a position of neutrality, as most of them had not read the book yet themselves, however, everyone unanimously condemned the personal attacks on Dr Hoodbhoy. They further condemned the way Ansar Abbasi ridiculed Dr Hoodbhoys’ teaching credentials.

Dr Hoodbhoy has served as a professor at the Quaid-i-Azam University for more than 35 years and has widely been respected in the academic circle. Ansar Abbasi’s remarks not only revealed how unscrupulous our media can be but also how such individuals show no respect towards a noble profession like teaching.

To show solidarity with Dr Hoodbhoy, students stood in front of the department with placards condemning the disrespect suffered by the professor.

Let sanity prevail.

Nayyar Afaq

Nayyar Afaq

He is pursuing a doctorate in Physics from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and his objective in life is to become a better human being. Nayyar tweets @Nay_Af (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Komal Ali

    You know half the audience would have agreed with Abbasi after watching this show because anything even slightly anti-Islamic, or for that matter anti-Malala, is well-believed and appreciated in our society. Only a few people would find the book and read for themselves. I wish more people begin to look into sources before believing any xyz. That would prevent our society from so much misunderstanding.

    Thank you for writing this blog.Recommend

  • Faisal

    It was not Malala who wrote that book rather it was Christina Lamb who did that by using Malala’s name and it’s quite apparent when I saw only the above mentioned para as the lady is still confused about the status of Ahmedi’s and she just saved herself by putting all the burden over the shoulder of “GOVT.” However in my opinion the way she has been glorifying her father in that book the title of the book should be “The adventures of Abbu ji ” or “Abbu ji ke kaarnaamay”.Recommend

  • 123xyz

    pakistan is going downhill very fast.Recommend

  • Yasir

    They never called Pervaiz Hoodbhoy JAHIL they called him Parha likha JAHIL Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    I have heard Hoodbhoy on different occasions. He is a Secular Liberalist. He must acquaint himself with the knowledge of the Quran & Sunnah first if he wants to comment on Islam, then go for his Doctorate.Recommend

  • Talha

    The right wingers have a habit of exaggeration. Orya and Ansar criticised Malala mostly based on three trivial matters.
    1. Her father believing in freedom of speech.
    2. Not writing PBUH after every time our Prophet is mentioned.
    3. Thinking of Ahmedis belonging to a class of human beings.

    If any person thinks these are just reasons to malign Malala then carry on doing so. You will only be in a lesser standing in front of people who are, lets say… Sane.Recommend

  • Amber Tahir Shah

    i watched the show myself & Kamran could have avoided the fuss ….Recommend

  • Faruq Faizi

    So both Abbasi and Oraya started the conversation, presented their opinion and mostly touched on Christina Lamb, Westerners using her to malign islam and others…did not say anything derogatory about Malala or HoodBoy. Then HooBoy was asked to comment and this is how the MIT graudate and an acclaimed teacher started his conversation….’quote’ Ansar Abbasi or Oraya nay koi kitab parhi zaroor hogi laikin yeh woh kitab nahi hay jo maine pari hay, Ya to inki agrezi bahtu kamzoor hay ya pher yeh donon JHOOOOT bol rahay hain..Jo batein yeh kar rahay hain woh sarehan us kitab mai hain hi nahi…Yeh JHOOT bol rahay hain, Seedhi si baat hay, woh kitab koi bhi parh sakta hay or usko or tarah ki batein dekhaye dengi, yeh choti bachi thi jisko taliban nay goli mardi or woh bach gaye, or pakistan may sirf Laan Taan kay, sirf MEDIA TALIBAN nay is bachi per dobara hamla kardia..Inhay Sharam Ani Chahie…Yeh woh bachi hay jisnay yeh sabit kia kay yehan aisay log hain jo taliban say bhi nahi dartay …laikin yeh MEDIA TALIBAN JHOOOT PER JHOOOT JHOOOT PER JHOOOT bolay jatay hain…inhay sharam ani chahie…JHOOT boltay hain ap log, YOU ARE LIARS…sirf JHOOOT boltay hain ap log…..’unquote’

    Until this point of time nobody even addressed HoodBoy and called him Jahil..but the way he build his reason, logic was surely a JAHALAT and he acted like that. I think your statement ‘Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy interjected stating that he had also read the book but did not find anything against Islam in her book as claimed by the other guests. He suspected either they had not read the book attentively or were deliberately trying to malign her’ in the above article, does not clearly show what he actually said to the other participants He deserved what he got in the program, every word of it.Recommend

  • Hameed

    Sadly rhetoric and jingoism and conspiracy theories instead of rationality prevail in pakistan.Recommend

  • wajid

    sir, Mr Hoodbhoy already has a doctorate.Recommend

  • ss

    Dear Pakistanis, let sanity prevail, for heaven’s sake :-/Recommend

  • Unknown

    Author himself didn’t read the book
    Book link
    Page 28 Last Paragraph:

    My father also saw the book as offensive to Islam but believes strongly in freedom of speech. ‘First, let’s read the book and then why not respond with our own book,’ he suggested.

    I am in no way defending Orya or Ansar but author said this was not in the book, but actually it is present. i have shared the links as well. Go and check yourself outRecommend

  • deep

    Seriously, I have heard Malala speak extempore to various news channels and the girl is remarkably articulate and well spoken. Her father and other thinkers have influenced her but is that a bad thing? I think her book should be compulsory reading in South Asia. And I truly admire her father. Malala is a budding thinker and should not be written off as an exploited bachchi. I am actually amazed at the depth of her thinking especially considering her background.

    Most laughable was – Orya Maqbool Jan saying that Malala was factually wrong in writing that during Zia ul Haq’s time, matters became difficult for women – his counter to this statement was to list out some female drama writers as evidence that women did not suffer – what society listens to a delusional man such as Orya and a downright bully such as Ansar abbasi. Pakistanis need to make the choice.Recommend

  • Black Widow

    Dear writer, apart from whatever was aired and whoever was involved in that “falooda” of a show, just plain answer this question……was it fair / justified / logical / sensible / responsible, on miss malala’s part to discuss or point out something she knows not even an iota about ? She says ahmadis call themselves muslims but “OUR GOVERNMENT” says they are not. wtf? just because “our government” says so? what if the government never said they were non muslims and instead considered them muslims? would that make them muslims? The book should have been titled “I am in La La” rather than I am malala.Recommend

  • Maaz

    Stop portraying Hoodbhoy as a glorious saint.He was no different either!Recommend

  • Talha

    So only the conservatives are allowed to talk about Islam now? All other society should remain quiet? “Difference of opinion” <– Learn about it.Recommend

  • Silent Observer

    Sorry but a degree doesn’t make you literate … if that was the case, MQM would be the best bunch of people!
    Moreover, when people fail to see the signs, then you can’t do anything for them.
    Hasn’t this occurred to you that a “scientist” is asked to comment on political issues?
    Again, I won’t say anything, the readers have all the right to think in which ever way they please.
    But I do know this that a 16 years old talking about all those things (that are very sensitive/controversial in Pakistan and NOT talking about the things she started her rebellion against) has some strange feeling to it.
    But still… calling each other names is NOT ethical and that is the only part I didn’t like… but a discussion is always healthy as long as it leads to a conclusion.Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    Dear Col sahab…any one who says some thing against the Mullah thinking cannot be considered as a non muslim or Secular….
    The same advice can be give to you that please read Quran and Sunnah and than talk on any topic.because most fo the so called Muslims in Pakistan are unware of Islam themselves….RegardsRecommend

  • Pak

    Well this is all rubbish. I watched that talk show live. It was Hoodbay who first asked both orya and ansar a liar.Recommend

  • SH

    Difference of opinion comes when you know something about the subject. Can I have a difference of opinion with Hoodbhoy over Nuclear Physics. Will I be allowed to hold that difference???

    They have eyes but cant see, they have ears but cant hear, they have minds but cant think.Recommend

  • Guest

    Just one question before we begin to glorify Parvez Hoodhboy, how many PhDs has he produced in the 25 years he has taught at Quaid e Azam University. If in 25 years he cannot even produce 4 PhD’s it’s a shame to call oneself an academic.Recommend

  • Khan

    PH started his response by calling them lier, this is not the way to talk even if you are right, I personally believe that the response of Ansar Abbasi was too exaggerated but this is his field and he does it often, what made PH being a champion of rationality act in such a childish way, he should have quit at the start of the debate not at the end of itRecommend

  • Tanzeel

    A very reasonable blog on ET after quite sometime.Recommend

  • Parvez

    My view : People like Orya and Ansar can at best be termed semi-intellectuals who are clearly pushing an agenda that is detrimental to us. Professor Hoodbhoy is an intellectual fighting a losing battle. The Ambassador was of course the smartest of the lot. While the anchor Shahid needs many years to mature.
    The book is well written and must be read with an open mind……something in very short supply in this country.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    The entire debate was unethical on many levels. I support Hoodbhoy’s stance but his choice of words was completely inappropriate. He shouldn’t have blatantly called OMJ and AA liars. He could have said, “the arguments against Malala supporting Rushdie are FALSE, instead of saying “Yeh log JHOOT bol rahay hain”. Hurling personal attacks during a debate is a sign of weak arguments. Dr. Hoodbhoy is a well-learned man (I edited his articles for the Zara Sochiye education campaign and found his arguments extremely well-articulated). I am sure that had he not lost his temper and had refrained from hurling personal attacks at the two, he would have been able to present a better argument to prove his stance.

    As for the position of the other two, AA and OMJ that is, the only thing I would say is “pathetic”. These people are brainwashing the masses by playing the religious sentiment card and manipulating the entire Malala episode through their religious prejudice. In a country where everyone has become a self-proclaimed judge of others’ conduct and has become a self-appointed chosen one of Islam, the interpretation of knowledge should be carried out as objectively as possible for the greater good of the society. I am sure they are aware of the DIRE consequences of this maneuvering -it can lead to killings in the name of God.

    Last, I being a Journalist myself, feel extremely sad at the current state of affairs that our media has projected in the name of building public opinion. It is the duty of the media to inform and educate the masses by showing them both sides of the coin. Considering the current conflict situation of Pakistan, every media professional should religiously follow the rule of ‘lessening the conflict’ by being as objective as possible. I am highly disappointed in moderators like Mr. Kamran Shahid and the likes who not only give a bad name to Pakistan media in the frenzy of increasing the ratings of their shows, but also trample upon journalistic ethics by engendering a highly loaded and intolerant public opinion.Recommend

  • Faizan

    If a statement is not even there and pseudo duos of Orya and Ansar try to establish a certain tilted meaning that leads to blasphemy out of thin air then what should these be called ? Jhootay hain toh jhoota hi kaha jayega inheinRecommend

  • zubair

    With due respect, in this blog the author is falsifying the facts by giving an impression that what Orya quoted is not in book. In fact in the book, it is written that ” “He (Salman Rushdie) has [sic] all the right under freedom of expression, but my father said that we should write a book against him.”, as also quoted by Orya in summary. The blogger tried to clear up the mess created by PH, but again by mis-quotations.
    The complete text from the book goes as follows:
    “One of their most heated debates in that first year was over a novel. The book was called TheSatanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and it was a parody of the Prophet’s life set in Bombay. Muslims widely considered it blasphemous and it provoked so much outrage that it seemed people were talking of little else. The odd thing was no one had even noticed the publication of the book to start with – it wasn’t actually on sale in Pakistan – but then a series of articles appeared in Urdu newspapers by a mullah close to our intelligence service, berating the book as offensive to the Prophet and saying it was the duty of good Muslims to protest. Soon mullahs all over Pakistan were denouncing the book, calling for it to be banned, and angry demonstrations were held. The most violent took place in Islamabad on 12 February 1989, when American flags were set alight in front of the American Centre – even though Rushdie and his publishers were British. Police fired into the crowd, and five people were killed. The anger wasn’t just in Pakistan. Two days later Ayatollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s assassination.
    My father’s college held a heated debate in a packed room. Many students argued that the book should be banned and burned and the fatwa upheld. My father also saw the book as offensive to Islam but believes strongly in freedom of speech. ‘First, let’s read the book and then why not respond with our own book,’ he suggested. He ended by asking in a thundering voice my grandfather would have been proud of, ‘Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against it? Not my Islam!’”Recommend

  • gama

    No doubt, Abbasi called him in a context. But he should have kept the aggression under suppression. And it is Abbasi’s point of view and does not justify “Malala’s”
    book or point of view (under discussion). In fact I would say “My father’s” book sponsored by few black coat.

    unfortunatly west is using her like a …… but “Father” is failing to understand…

    Having a knowledge of Physics does not mean you have a knowledge of everything.
    In my opinion if some one has a “true” knowledge of Physics then that knowledge only bring him near to Allah, Hoodbye and his “Students” are no different than many western physicist, who think mostly on finding new particles or planets instead of something else but anyway…Recommend

  • Pradhan

    That is exactly how propaganda, conspiracy theories have made place in Pakistani Mind. Tell you what even if you go with the text which Mr. Maqbool and Mr. Abbasi have paraphrased they will have something to counter argue. This is how they prove how smart and right they are.Recommend

  • Sppock

    If Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy is a jahil then i wish we all were such jahil. He is going down the path with Dr Salam did.
    A society which doesnt respect its teachers, intellectuals, artists and scientists is only calling for jahils to rule them.Recommend

  • cute man

    In our country, theory of evolution is going in opposite direction. Our minds are getting smaller and bottoms are getting larger !Recommend

  • Nandita.

    I have read the book and all I can say is that Dr Hoodbhoy spoke the truth.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    I think Ansar Abbasi and Orya Maqbool should be taken to court for making false accusations by Malala. They should go to jail. Why can’t this happen? I am serious.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    There is no reason why a liberal can’t have knowledge of the Quran and sunnah. Just because he doesn’t wear the maulana uniform, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have knowledge.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    I was eagerly awaiting this blog.

    I was in the process of writing one myself, but was finding it to be an extremely painful task (just watching the video once was excruciating). I was sincerely hoping someone would relieve me. An excellent piece!

    Some additional points:
    – Abbas Ansari and Orya Maqsood are able lie on TV, because they’re confident that very few among their fan base would actually open up a book and read. As far as our hordes of jingoists and Muslim supremacists are concerned, anything that confirms their worldview must ipso facto be true. A proud, faithful Pakistan can never be wrong!

    – Order and decorum doesn’t get you TV ratings. It was in Kamran Shahid’s interest to simply smirk through this train-wreck, and let the video go viral. Imagine the number of views it would’ve generated if Hoodbhoy hadn’t left earlier, and Abbas Ansari had escalated his dignified tirade to a “yo mama” match, which was clearly where the “discussion” was headed.Recommend

  • wajid

    you are allowed to hold an opinion, Its the audience, who will decide about right or wrong.Recommend

  • Rayan Syed

    STOP making others fool. The author has mentioned this paragraph in the blog. You need to read the blog attentively.Recommend

  • Aamna

    I love you for this blog. I read Ansar Abbasi’s column about Malala’s book upon my father’s suggestion. This serves as a clarification. Since her father urges her and himself to read Salman Rushdie’s book ‘The Satanic Verses’ and then responding against her, I’m stunned at how this could be their support for him. Besides even if Ahmadis are Non-Muslim, Islam orders to protect our minorities. Like Imran Khan sums it up ‘Allah is Rabbul Aalameen and not just Rabbul Muslimeen’. I also not find Malala’s quote to be falsehood or support for Ahmadi belief, that ‘these minority communities are often attacked’. Dr. Pervaiz Hoodbhoy is one of the few experts we have here and someone of Ansar Abbasi’s or Orya Maqbool Jaan’s stature calling him ‘illiterate’ just on a sentimental ground (which isn’t even de facto) is an expression of the sorry state of Pakistani majority’s mental maturity. I’m so going to make my father read this blog.Recommend

  • Bangash

    Only in a Godforsaken country like Pakistan.Recommend

  • bangash

    rambling nonsense of a mullah.Recommend

  • nishantsirohi123

    go through some comments
    and you shalll realise that where do orya maqbool and ansar abbasi get their support fromRecommend

  • rehan baloch

    excellently discuss the issue i can say If society didnot respect thier intellactual are going toward darkness…Recommend

  • Waqas

    My comment : The world is square not round.
    “the audience, who will decide about right or wrong”

    I don’t think so. I am wrong. No number of audience can make my comment right.

    My comment : I think the world should be round.
    The audience should not even consider my comment because I am no a Nuclear Physicist.

    Think about itRecommend

  • Saad

    Honestly the writer hadn’t seen the program from starting in which Dr. Hoodbhoy malign the two guest with words like Jhootay, Media Taliban and etc……. If Hoodbhoy can have views like that how can you support him and expect a decent reply from the other side. I am not in favor of these types of debate but the way it started Dr. Hoodbhoy’s exaggeration was the cause to the situation. And the Malala is praised only to portrait the cruelty of Afghan Taliban, which in her case doesn’t apply cause here in Pakistan TTP (American & Indian Sponsored) Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is operating. I have seen various interviews of her but some of them were scripted, in my opinion !!!!Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Hoodbhoy called Orya and Abbas, “liars”. Was he wrong?

    A liar is called a “liar”. A lamp is called a “lamp”. I’m not going to call a “lamp” a “eucalyptus” because that sounds nicer.Recommend

  • Unknown

    Sorry from my side, when i was writing this comment, I think that i didn’t saw that this sentence was mentioned by the author. Now i can see that the said para is here. Apology from my side to the author.Recommend

  • Jack

    People like Ansar Abbasi and Maqbool Jan make Muslims look like illiterate cavemen who can’t even string a few sentences together in a rebuttal. Hurling profanities and religious canards is their modus operandi. To a great extent it works, the ‘educated’ folks really seem to dig it. Some of the abusive words to describe Pervez Hoodhbhoy on the Internet that can be found: Jew/Yahood, traitor, liberal facist (haha), laanti, munafiq, hypocrite, kaffir, murtad, unpar (again haha). This is of course not a complete list…..Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    True. All three guests, Orya, Ansar Abbasi and Hoodbhoy, lost their respect by the way they behaved. No single one can be targeted, I think all 3 of them acted immaturely.Recommend

  • gp65

    Hoodbhoy wasn’t commenting on ISlam, he was commenting on a book he had read.Recommend

  • gp65

    You make a good point. But in this case he wasn’t even discussing Islam- only pointing out factual inaccuracies in what Orya and Ansar had originally said.Recommend

  • hsabbasi

    thats pathetic to say slightly ante-Islamic….. how could you defend or justify something even its little against Islam if you are Muslim…… Even if some is not a practical Muslim but, atleast he should say it wrong………Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    Even if it is anti-Islamic so what? People have opinions that they should be allowed to express. You do not necessarily have to agree to these opinions.Recommend

  • hsabbasi

    great piece of writing sir,keep it up……Recommend

  • riazhaq

    I think Pervez Hoodbhoy should have responded without calling them liars. would have been a more effective rebuttal. This debate should not have been personalized.Recommend

  • AadiAryaPurushaz(Himavat)

    hi komali, forget Paistan..its over…ooberRecommend

  • saad

    whatever the case you will not get a standing in the row of sanes
    just for a moment if I abuse you you family and whole line of blood… is this my born right of speech????
    sick world we are living inRecommend

  • TahirF1

    I think we as a Muslim should not try to act like a judge about other people’s religious feelings, ideas and acts. God is the ultimate judge for all of us. Mr. Orya and Mr. Ansar disappointed me greatly with their harsh tone and nonsensical arguments. These harsh critiques incite people to go and murder other people who even slightly differ with their opinions. I hope these 2 guys see the clip again and see what they have done! They are making a mockery of all of us in front of the whole world.Recommend

  • ramanan

    People like you and the Doctor should do a ‘Pakisan se Zinda Bagh’. With this standard of TV talk shows and comments for blogposts, it is better to “Pakistan-se-Zinda-Bhag”.Recommend

  • gp65

    ET Mods – Everything is factually verifiable. Please publish. DO not withold based on your own opinions and feelings. Review based on comment guidelines (which this does not violate)

    This whole brouhaha about whether Hoodbhoy had a right to speak on Islam that the Colonel has picked up is not just irrelevant but malafide. I had watched the program open mouthed and horrified. At no point did Hoodbhoy even talk about Islam. HE simply questioned the claim that had been made earlier that Malala had supported the blasphemer Salman Rushdie and asked for freedom of speech for him. Which was deliberate distortion of what Malala had written. She had said that her father was OFFENDED by the book but that Rushdie had freedom of expression. We should read the book and if we disagree write a book that rebuts what Rushdie said.

    How that amounts to support for blasphemy as was being claimed boggles one’s mind. It is this malafide misrepresentation that was questioned by Hoodbhoy. Not surprisingly Abbasi picked that up to imply that now Hoodbhoy was supporting a blasphemer. What worries me is the exact same thing that worries the author. Is this Meher Bokhari, Salman Taseer round 2?Recommend

  • gp65

    The blog author did mention the paragraph you quoted. By reading this paragraph, which says that her father was offended by the blasphemy and recommended that a book be written to rebut the claims in that book, in now way can it be interpreted that Malala’s father or she herself were supporting blasphemy or Rushdie’s point of view. What they were supporting was his freedom of expression which is a completely different thing.Recommend

  • gp65

    She says ahmadis call themselves muslims but “OUR GOVERNMENT” says they are not. just because “our government” says so? what if the government never said they were non muslims and instead considered them muslims? would that make them muslims?”

    Let me tell you what the founder of your nation Mohammed Ali Jinnah said on this subject. “On 23 May 1944 the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave his views at a press conference during his visit to Kashmir that Ahmadis are Muslims and entitled to join the Muslim Conference organisation which consisted of Muslims. We quote below from the Urdu book Tahrik Huriyyat Kashmir (History of Independence Movements in Kashmir), volume 2, 1936 – 1945, page 291:

    “Newspaper correspondents asked him a question about Mirza’is, that they are not being allowed to join the Muslim Conference because they are considered as non-Muslims. What is your opinion about this? Mr. Jinnah replied: ‘Who am I to declare a person as non-Muslim who calls himself a Muslim?’

    SO Madam would you also use the same pejorative term for Jinnah that you used for Malala?Recommend

  • gp65

    HE called them liars because they were lying.Recommend

  • Parvez

    In today evenings TV talk show with Kashif Abbasi, Orya along with the book in hand spelt out all the objections he had. On finishing Fawad Chaudhry ( lawyer ) very aptly replied and pointed out to Orya that, was that all he could come up with, petty little things like – she refers to the Quaid as Jinnah – and other inconsequential things which Fawad said just showed how small a mind Orya really had. Instead of talking about the contents of the book, Orya focused his energy as was pointed out to further a Taliban style agenda.
    I am no great fan of Fawad Chaudhry but I give him full marks for being honest.
    Its also a shame that TV channel hosts encourage people like Orya because of ratings, knowing full well that damage is being done.Recommend

  • gp65

    A wiser, more balanced and more succint response to the whole situation would have been difficult to craft.Recommend

  • gp65

    He had to call out the lies directly and without nuances, because these people were putting Malala’s life at risk by calling her a supporter of blasphemy.Recommend

  • gp65

    They should get whatever punishment is out there for false accusations of blasphemy and doing it twice over.
    1) They falsely accuse Malala of supporting a blasphemer (she did not support his POV – just his freedom of expression)

    2) They falsely accused Hoodbhoy of supporting a blasphemer when he had done no such thing either.

    But if the mullah who falsely accused Rimsha Masih went scott free while the judiciary forced police to register a blasphemy case against Sherry Rehman for introducing a private member bill to improve the implementation of the blasphemy law – then what are the chances that AA and OMJ’s feet will be held o fire? What on the other hand is the likelihood that the good professor has been put in harm’s way?Recommend

  • Muneeb

    The intresting thing is tha writer himself has given the link to watch it.Recommend

  • gama

    or may be the extremists don’t wana understand… lol @ mullahRecommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    I am sorry to burst the bubble. Parvez had absolutely no idea about the book he was talking about. What Ansar Abbasi was referring to had been bluntly denied by Parvez. Parvez kept on insisting that “No such thing exists in the book” contrary to what writer of this article claimed that “No such anti-Islamic thing existed”.

    I will refrain from commenting on that book because I will be labeled as a Secular by Mullah and a Mullah by Seculars. Being an academician myself, I had expected Parvez to behave better. It was sad to watch these people arguing like uneducated people.

    Okay reading the comments, I could not stop myself.

    The trouble creator in the book was this line, “My father found that book offensive to Muslims but believes strongly in freedom of expression.”

    It could have been better written like this, “My father found that book offensive to Muslims and is against such books which hurt religious sentiments of people in the name of freedom of expression.”

    What I wrote above was from a Muslim’s perspective. Now read below conversation for a Western perspective :)

    Writing my discussion with a foreigner on Freedom of Expression with respect to Blasphemous Publications:

    Person: You Pakistanis, why don’t you believe in freedom of expression?

    Me: Is it written in your constitution that religion is a personal affair of everyone?

    Person: Absolutely

    Me: Is it also written in your constitution that your freedom ends where my nose starts meaning you can not interfere in anyone’s personal affairs? Freedom of expression does not permit you to do that?

    Person: Heck yes!

    Me: So who gave someone a right to interfere in my personal life? As per your constitution religion is my personal affair and your constitution prevents you from interfering in anyone’s personal life

    Person: I have never thought like that earlier.

    Me: Its never too late, think now and upon your return to your country educate your countrymen about it as wellRecommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    I do not like Ansar Abbasi aur Aurya eitherRecommend

  • Talha Rizvi

    As an Indian why are you interested in it? Try to keep your own house in order.Recommend

  • Talha Rizvi

    It gives me no surprise that people like you are making such comments. Your previous comments denoted a deep bias against PPP, minorities and smaller sects of Islam. Recommend

  • Talha

    You can know everything about the Islam and still not be a conservative.Recommend

  • Faruq Faizi

    Or Taliban kehna???Recommend

  • adnan

    This i the difference between matters of science and matters of faith. Scientific matters can be objectively resolved, but not matters of faith, which require a certain degree of faith or imaan. That’s why there are so many religions and sects in the world. The day that matters of faith can be resolved objectively will be the day that there will no longer be a difference of opinion and religion can then be treated more like nuclear physicsRecommend

  • Iftikhar Ali

    The point is that the sensible people left talking long time ago,
    but on the other hand people who talk lost their sense on the way.
    God Bless US.Recommend

  • The Lone Ranger
  • Somesh

    Dr.Pervez Sahab, what you are doing in Pakistan is nothing less then the actual meaning of ‘Jihad’ on the anti-social & anti-human elements of the Pakistani society… I can only wish you security and strength.. May God be with you… A fan from India…Recommend

  • Shoukat

    There is no such thing as “right wingers”. Islam cannot be disputed. Islam is not a game of politics where one is right wing or left wing. There is only one path. We cannot disputes.
    Mr Hoodbhoy talks about things which he is not an expert on. A medical doctor has not right to talk about construction of buildings because he is not an expert. Listening to hime it is crystal clear that he knows nothing about Ahmediyas or Malala’s book.Recommend

  • Imtiaz

    The responsibility for this fiasco lies with the anchor who let this happen, while he sat there smiling.Recommend

  • Imtiaz

    Murphy summed it up nicely, ‘if your facts are weak argue the law, if your law is weak argue the facts, but if your facts and law both are weak then yell like hell’.Recommend

  • Aaryan Ramzan

    This is from Mr. Hoodbhoy’s FB page:
    Because some facts are being widely misinterpreted, I would like to set the record straight.

    1. The anchor, Kamran Shahid, telephoned me repeatedly to invite me to his program. I was reluctant because of my demanding academic schedule but he insisted that it was very important to counter the wrong trends that we see in Pakistan and for people like me to raise their voices. I agreed to participate, not knowing that he had also invited the media extremists, Orya Maqbool Jan (OMJ) and Ansar Abbasi (AA). He had deliberately withheld those names from me, although I had asked who else would be on the show.

    2. Dunya TV sent a DSNG unit to my house in Islamabad. I could hear but not see the anchor or the other guests. During the shouting match that developed during the program – a consequence of OMJ and AA savagely attacking Malala Yusufzai and misrepresenting the contents of her book – I naturally thought that my voice was getting through to the audience. I was wrong.

    3. This program was about the book “I Am Malala” but I had not been thus informed. Else I would have had a copy in front of me to refute the inventions of AA and OMJ. Therefore I had to rely on my memory rather than have access to the exact text.

    4. The next morning, when the program had been loaded on to the
    internet, I was astonished to note that the audio level from my end
    had been turned down so low that my voice was inaudible. However AA was hurling abuses against me and these were coming through loud and clear. I also noted that AA and OMJ would occasionally appear full-screen whereas I was shown as a tiny image even when speaking. This was clear manipulation and bias at the technical level.

    5. After some time had passed, the audio was abruptly turned off from my headset. I naturally thought that the program had ended, perhaps prematurely. So I took off my headset and walked away. What else was there to do? But, on watching the televised program, I realized that they had kept the video camera on! The program was actually in the final stages and AA (full screen) had been given the full opportunity to vent his venom on me. The anchor said that I had left the program. This was a complete lie.

    To conclude: I DID NOT WALK OUT. Using google, I discovered that
    several blogs/newspapers have reported that I walked out in defeat.
    These are gutter tactics. Sadly, in pursuit of ratings, Dunya TV is pandering to the extremist right wing.

    Again, thank you for bringing up the matter.

    Sincerely yours,
    Pervez HoodbhoyRecommend

  • Midas

    Let alone the discussion about who did what and whether or not they were right in their action or reaction. I must commend one thing that the book got a free advertisement of the highest order, even the people who were not going to read it, or had not heard of it, are now aware and may read it.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    Freedom of expression has its boundaries. If somebody calls your father names & a liar how would you feel about it. Rushdie
    has used blasphemous language against the our Prophet (SAW)PBUH and it cannot be tolerated by any Muslim. How can one eulogize his book.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    Islam is the most Enlightened & Modern Religion on this earth. Those whom you call conservatives are actually in the true sense Modern. Now you will ask me “What is Modernity”. Modernity is to adopt the latest Technology which Allah Subhan Wa tala has bestowed upon us in the light of the Quran & Sunnah to make our day to day life simpler & easier.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    Another Non-Conformist. Recommend

  • warraich

    ALAS! OUR “PAREHEY LIKEY” EMPIRICIST LOG ! @ ASHFAQ AHMAD sahib u were right while saying that ” this country is mor badly devastated by Literate than poor illiterate people”Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    Actually there is a difference btween “Liberal”vis a vis a Momen. One who knows the boundaries of Islam laid down by the Quran & Sunnah but either does not acknowledge it or gives it his own interpretation. For example, a Liberal may take Drinking as a normal ritual.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    You call this Country Godforsaken. You must read the famous book “A man without a Country” only then will you realize the blessing you have. Thank Allah for all he has bestowed upon you.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    Shah Sb. Glad to have you in this Forum. Where were you all this time. Regards.Recommend

  • Irfan Alam

    why not the educated elite, who is lucky enough to read and understand this piece of english, raise their voice through an organized platform…The demonstration by QAU students is laudable!
    unless the sane come forward, our society will continue to be marred by the insane!Recommend

  • Shoaib

    I am going to get quite a lot negative comments and dislikes but contrary to the common belief here I should mention here that Pervez Hoodbhoy started by calling Orya Maqbool Jan and Insar Abbasi liars. The manner in which Pervez Hoodbhoy started the program does it depicts the behaviour of a learned Professor? If he wouldn’t have started in this manner I guess the program would have taken a different course than how it went.

    I will also say that I haven’t read the book yet so I will refrain from commenting on the contents of the book. Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy may be right about the maligning of Malala by them but still the way he started his arguments cannot be considered civil.Recommend

  • A Peshawary

    Verbal brawls are common on TV channels rather the anchors encourage such RAW like episode. Experts like Abbasi, Hoodbhy, and many more highly educated professors, media-men/women, ullamahs, human right activists and politicians are deliberately pushed into free for all verbal brawls. The meaningful smile on the face of the anchors during these emotional discourses can easily be noticed.

    Media industry! keep it-up audience do enjoy these thought provoking and knowledge enriched point scoring episodes with highly emotional motivated verbal force. No doubt, It adds to the popularity of the participants and entertainment section of the 24/7 news Channels news. It does amuse & entertain the viewers, these entertainment breaks are in addition to programs like Hum Sub Umid Say Hain and Khabarnak.

    Students of Profeesor Hoodbhy; please do not take it seriously as it is going on between these two gentlemen for years and is just a part of the game; of the camera they might be good friends .Recommend

  • Sane

    You are 100% correct.Recommend

  • Sane

    Pakistan was and shall always haunt in dreams of you and all Indians.Recommend

  • Sane

    Around 65 separatist movement in India shall result very soon.Recommend

  • Sane

    In any argument Hoodbhoy becomes hostile. He is not a person to speak in public.Recommend

  • Sana Maqbool

    The salutation PBUH is a voluntary gesture to show respect but if is not used it should not be seen as a sign of disrespect or linked to one’s status as being a Muslim. Even when we recite the kalma, the name of the prophet is not accompanied by PBUH or Hazrat. The early Muslim writers hardly used these terms and Ibn Ishaq wrote Rasul Allah. When we lack real spirituality than we spend time and energy fighting on these matters like how a name should be addressed.Recommend

  • Sana Maqbool

    With reference to saad’s comment, let’s suppose that you had abused me, my family and my whole line of blood. How should I respond to you: should I respond back in the same currency or should I say that you have no right to live. This is the point that is made here. Rushdie wrote a book and to respond the Muslims who are offended can write a book, rather than issue fatwas to kill him.Recommend

  • Sana Mabool

    Shoukat, you are right, only experts should speak on their relevant subject. The other people on the show, were they ‘experts’ on Islam? Then maybe they shouldn’t have been talking about these sensitive topics either.Recommend