Even though I lived in Pakistan almost all my life, I actually got to know about Dr Israr Ahmed when I was in college in UK and Dr Shahid Masood shot his cringe inducing series ‘End of Time’. I came back home and discovered that one of our neighbours has joined his Tanzeem-e-Islami. All of a sudden his daughter who passed her O levels Economics paper because of my tuition has started avoiding me. When I asked, she said that her dad told her to stay away from me because I am foreign educated and my mind is filled with Western ideas and I may corrupt her hitherto unsoiled mind. Mind you, the only ideas I have tried to impart to her were always about indifference curve and use of derivation and quadratic equations in Economics, but I digress.
I then started digging a bit and found out that Dr Sahib, although denounced Jihad as called by Al Qaida and other militant organizations, was a fan of Mullah Omar and Taliban and was totally against co educational institutions of higher learning. He believed that if women cannot get education in separate institutions, they should not study at all. As we have bigger nutcases in the country who constantly make headlines, I never really bothered to get to know about him.
Earlier today I saw the news report that he passed away and then saw his face as facebook display picture of an acquaintance. When I asked her the reason of such display of affection, she told me that the good doctor had once called her haramzadi because he did not like what she was wearing and it was her way of paying respect. Apparently, my friend, a journalist and documentary film maker, was covering an MMA rally protesting the combined marathon in Lahore outside Karachi Press Club and Dr Israr Ahmed was there protesting alongside the MMA leadership. At that point, my friend was the only female journalist there with a camera and she was wearing a short sleeved top. First he refused to talk to her, but relented when she persisted and ended the conversation with a parting shot, “West ne haramzadi ka huliya badal diya hai.”
ویسٹ نے حرامزادی کا حلیہ بدل دیا ہے
Now I have been raised by mother to be ladylike and have been taught that one should not speak ill of the dead but I am still wondering that just because Doctor Sahib did not agree with her choice of clothing, he was entitled to call her names? Was that in any way justified or even civil? Was he promoting such levels of tolerance to his thousands of followers? Just wondering…
As I have stopped fresh comments on this post, I was contacted – rather persistently – by a fan of Dr Israr to add this bit of info on my blog clearing his name. I still maintains that calling someone haramzadi in a public gathering, even if the said scholar was quoting an Akbar Allahabadi sher was in extremely bad taste and openly misogynist.
Here is the link to the “clarification“