Sultan Masjid imam accused of inciting hatred against Sherry Rehman

Published: January 10, 2011
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Sherry Rehman, who has submitted a private member bill in the National Assembly proposing amendments to the blasphemy law, has been at the receiving end of fiery criticism from several religious political parties in the country. Concerns over her security increased after Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was recently killed for his similar views on the blasphemy law.

Sherry Rehman, who has submitted a private member bill in the National Assembly proposing amendments to the blasphemy law, has been at the receiving end of fiery criticism from several religious political parties in the country. Concerns over her security increased after Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was recently killed for his similar views on the blasphemy law.

KARACHI: An application asking for an investigation into the imam of DHA’s Sultan Masjid has been submitted by complainants who accused the imam of declaring MNA Sherry Rehman a ‘non-Muslim’.

Sherry Rehman, who has submitted a private member bill in the National Assembly proposing amendments to the blasphemy law, has been at the receiving end of fiery criticism from several religious political parties in the country. Concerns over her security increased after Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was recently killed for his similar views on the blasphemy law.

Journalist Ali Kamran Chishti filed the application while other complainants listed are the late governor’s son, Shaan Taseer, and Sherry Rehman. The application was filed at the Darakshan police station on Sunday afternoon.

The application states that the police should file an FIR and launch a criminal investigation against the imam, Munir Ahmed Shakir.

“This is not just about Rehman or Salmaan Taseer.  The whole point of this is that no one [has the right to be] judgmental other than God. If we have laws then you can prove something in court, but you cannot get up and start labelling people and inciting violence at such a sensitive time,” said Chishti.

“I was there at the sermon,” he told The Express Tribune. “At first, the imam indirectly praised Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri [who allegedly assassinated Taseer] and then lauded him directly. He started saying that the blasphemy law could not be changed and anyone doing so was wrong. He said that people like Sherry Rehman are now non-Muslims [because they are proposing changes to the law],” added the journalist. SHO Rana Amjad said that the Darakshan police immediately spoke to Imam Shakir, who categorically denied that he issued a fatwa or incited hatred against Rehman.

“We spoke to the imam. He said that this is absolutely not the case,” Amjad said. According to the police officer, the imam told him that he had only asked people at the sermon that keeping the situation in mind, they should not take the blasphemy law into their own hands and should let the courts handle the issue.

Shakir told the police that he had neither declared Rehman a blasphemer nor sanctioned her murder in any way.

“Intelligence agencies monitor Friday sermons and according to their report, such an event did not take place. We have told the complainant, Ali Kamran Chishti, to substantiate this [accusation],” Amjad added.

Chishti said that because there is no audio or visual recording of the sermon, they will be filing affidavits from three witnesses at the city court in Karachi on Thursday, following which they hope that the police will lodge an FIR.

A report published in Daily Times on Sunday stated that Sultan Masjid was being run under the supervision of Saudi Arabia’s military attache.

SHO Amjad said that they were looking into who governed the mosque’s affairs. Chishti said, “If it turns out that he is an employee of the Saudi consulate and has diplomatic immunity, the police will file an FIR based on the law for foreigners.”

Amjad also denied that hate literature was being circulated outside mosques in the area.

In an interview with The Express Tribune in December, former president Pervez Musharraf recalled how a DG Inter-Services Intelligence was exiting Sultan Masjid and had caught a young boy distributing hate literature outside while the police was simply looking the other way.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (45)

  • Zeeshan H
    Jan 10, 2011 - 1:10AM

    “Intelligence agencies monitor Friday sermons and according to their report, such an event did not take place.” Why am I not surprised? Recommend

  • abdullah
    Jan 10, 2011 - 10:55AM

    no one has the right to declare some1 a non muslim ..such maulvis r actualy munafiq and want popularity ….get all of them behind the bars we do have courts and a sahria court is there as well but no maulvis put up a case over there this shows they r doing it 4 d sake of popularityRecommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    Jan 10, 2011 - 10:59AM

    Well, I think every masjid has been declaring fatwa against Salman taseer on Friday sermons for many weeks till it finally took his life. If govt wants to seriously handle this issue, it needs to check the Friday sermons on every mosque.Recommend

  • Ghazi Muslim
    Jan 10, 2011 - 11:28AM

    Unless Molvies are paid in the same coin, they will continue to kill Muslims. So far molvies have worked effectively against Muslims.Recommend

  • Ahmed Iqbalabadi
    Jan 10, 2011 - 11:32AM

    In my entire life, I have never heard a molvi as crazy as the pesh imam of DHA’s Sultan Masjid. In 2005, I personally heard him in a Friday sermon saying that whoever doesnt say prayers is not a Muslim, in fact such people are wajib ul qatl! He even said such people’s namaz e janaza is not jaiz, in fact such people should be thrown in holes (Gadday mayn daal dena chahiye). Honestly I was scared hearing him. What scared me more was that he was speaking in a mosque of an affluent area. Imagine if only one man acts on his “sermon” and kills his employer! (DHA’s majority houses employ drivers, guards, chowkidars etc!).

    You can also wonder what would be happening to molvis in lower class areas! Recommend

  • Asim
    Jan 10, 2011 - 11:43AM

    I asked a learned friend of blasphemy law and according to the research he had done there is no concept of this law in the Quran or Hadees. However, he was not 100% sure as he was relying on information from a 3rd person like I was. I think it is about time for us that if we are not sure of anything put down by our mauliv’s we need to cross check ourselves in the Quran and Hadees to make sure what the facts are before we start saying this law is correct or not. Steps to find the truth will help us to be better muslims who have a better understanding of Islam and be better human beings.Recommend

  • Shahryar+Ahmed
    Jan 10, 2011 - 12:02PM

    I use to be a regular at this mosque, but I have stopped going to this mosque because of the Imam. I have no doubt that he must have said something of this sort. I have so many times heard him speak rubbish.

    We all need to stand up & stop thee people when they actually deviated from the friday sermon, they should be teaching Islam, rather than passing these fatwas in their sermons.

    Enough is enough, let’s make a stand now or regret putting our children’s futures in danger!Recommend

  • AM
    Jan 10, 2011 - 1:06PM

    Isn’t the most frightening news here the fact that the Saudi military controls a mosque in DHA in Karachi? How many others are there? Is there any independent body that can publish information related to the funding of these radicalisation cells?

    It does make sense though. While the religious right is a sizable minority in Pakistan, the amount of money it takes to fund the madrassah and mosque network is evidently enormous; the daily food bill alone (not to mention publishing, property acquisition, jihadist activities etc) must surely require a significant input of money and infrastructure. Can we find out where this money comes from?

    While I have no illusions about the lazy right wing conservatism and bloodlust of the average Pakistani, the ultimate responsibility must surely lie with people who have exploited ignorance and intellectual mediocrity to further their own sordid power grabbing schemes. Recommend

  • Kamran Haider
    Jan 10, 2011 - 1:07PM

    my dear brothers ever you ever speak louder and regid for Salman Rushdi? NO have you ever tried to know how many people have sentenced to death in Blasphemy in past 1400 years? NO then if a molvi speaking against the enemies of islam why you people are giving fatwas without know the fact means you all are also like that Pesh Imaam.

    the only problem is interpretation of the issue if sherry has said something she should be very careful speaking about the religion and interpret clearly what she actually wants. if she says it is a bogus Law it should be revised or changed or what ever then she should also spend some time to understand islam. But if she says that there are some weaknesses in the process of catching person in this law which should be reviewed by these molvis only while the punishment of death will remain same then she is talking smart as a good muslim.

    if you all are praying 05 times namaz bajamat on time then you all must be aware with the Shaan-e-Mustufa SAW who actually taught you this. And if you are not then first quit gunah SINS from your life rather then criticizing any one. Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Jan 10, 2011 - 1:32PM

    Are these bigots still important in our lives!!! They are a bunch of worthless people who still sustain themselves on alms and donations. They donot have the capacity to earn “Rizq Halal” for them selves. Recommend

  • Naeem Siddiqui,Australia
    Jan 10, 2011 - 1:49PM

    Ahmed Iqbalabadi, Shahryar+Ahmed

    These kind of illiterate Mullahs could only be stopped if we record their sermons and send it to Police. otherwise they will keep spreading their sick mentality.Recommend

  • Naeem Siddiqui,Australia
    Jan 10, 2011 - 1:52PM

    Shahryar Ahmed,

    You did right thing, you should also convience others in your influence and gathering not to attend that Masjid anymore. one day he will siting alone on his mimber and nobody will be there to listen his nonsense.Recommend

  • Fiza
    Jan 10, 2011 - 2:27PM

    This is the mosque of our area and from the little I know of the imam, although he is very vocal, belongs to the school of thought which believes that people cannot take blasphemy law into their own hands and the courts should make a decision. I have doubts over this FIR case lodged therefore. People usually interpret things the way they want to hear it. However, only witnesses can really tell what happened, so now that I think about it there is no point in us discussing whether the imam did this or not since we will only be instigating hatred based on suspicion and assumptions. Recommend

  • Shazia
    Jan 10, 2011 - 2:39PM

    It does not matter whether the pesh imam is an employee of Saudi Consulate. He is a citizen of Pakistan and not a diplomat and is subject to the laws of Pakistan. He should be prosecuted on the basis of the affadavits.Recommend

  • Nabeel Arshed Malik
    Jan 10, 2011 - 2:39PM

    We should all stand up to these hate mongers amongst us. They are all murderers. Recommend

  • YH
    Jan 10, 2011 - 2:56PM

    I once attended his sermon and he condemned the parliamentarians who said we should limit the number of children that we have. I mean, please. Don’t need to use such a public forum to express your views which have no legal or religious logic behind them.

    I’m surprised that an FIR was not lodged against him sooner. Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Jan 10, 2011 - 2:56PM

    This moulvi should be arrested and tried for inciting murder.Recommend

  • shaharyar
    Jan 10, 2011 - 4:13PM

    Religious issues should be handled very carefully and impassionatelyRecommend

  • J.Oberoi
    Jan 10, 2011 - 4:24PM

    Isn’t it time Pakistan went the whole way and implemented Sharia? Throw away the present judicial system and be done with it. At least the people will be happy. The present state of affairs will only lead to anarchy.Recommend

  • FZ
    Jan 10, 2011 - 4:50PM

    I attended several of his sermons and they are full of comical ideas. By the way he has the habit of boot licking the big shots in the area . For the starters of he is a big fan of Maulana Fazlurrehman and belongs to his party. So you can well imagine what type of person he is. I used to go to Sultan masjid for prayers. But his presence and sermons made me opt of an alternative. By the way the gentleman is fond of pick up petty fights in other maulvis in the area. I remember he used the Friday sermon to settle score with imam of nearby mosque. I wonder that how can these people getaway with all these gimmicks. In DHA area all mosques are supervised by DHA and how come the local authorities allow this drama to take place. By the way the gentleman is reputed to own two commercial buildings in the nearby commercial market in DHA area. I wonder that with his meager salary how can he afford to purchase and own those expensive properties. By the way he is not alone. There are several mosques in DHA neighborhood where imams use the Friday sermon to share their worldview in an unrestricted manner and quite frequently without any basis. I personally do not have any problem with a clergyman pointing out the social evils in the society. But I strongly contest someone’s claim to have the moral high ground when his own record is itself quite patchy. Recommend

  • Ailia Zehra
    Jan 10, 2011 - 5:06PM

    Why is the govt avoiding 2 take action against these so called religious scholars….Recommend

  • AM
    Jan 10, 2011 - 5:10PM

    How about hauling these effing mullahs up on their unsound theology? Isnt the equation of a man-made law (even if made by the most respected scholars) with the infallible word of god tantamount to Shirk? When using Hadith to make a religious ruling, is it not the scholar’s duty to first acknowledge that no two schools of Islam agree on the matter of which Hadith are in fact authentic?

    The Mullah network needs to be hauled up before everyone in Pakistan starts overpronouncing Arabic words and eating Lays crisps in between casual bigotry and slaughter. It is a task that seems increasingly difficult in a society that has little time or respect left for difficult intellectual work.Recommend

  • SharifL
    Jan 10, 2011 - 5:40PM

    I look up to Shery rehman, but see dark clouds hanging over her life. This country is losing sanity quicker than we can imagine. Shery take care of yourself. I think it may not be a bad idea to leave the country for the time being. I feel ashamed to recpommend that. One day we will only have mullahs and extremists left in the country. That will be good night Pakistan. Some belive that their faith allows them to kill people without trial, taking law in theri hands and thousands march to celebrate the assissnation. I am beginning to to wonder what faith I am in.Funny,I enjoyed reading Richard DawkinsRecommend

  • AB
    Jan 10, 2011 - 5:58PM

    Most of you guys are so sensible,I can just hope that the majority in your country behaves like you.Recommend

  • Jan 10, 2011 - 6:03PM

    A step in the right direction. No action is taken against them because almost the entire mulla community or tribe or nation or empire, call it what you may is suffused with arms. They have a panoply of weapons and flout them openly with total disregard for the law.

    Salams for 2011.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Jan 10, 2011 - 6:26PM

    What can I expect from Mullas who live on donations and charity from some muslim Ummah countries. They are provided Money and Base to propagate difference and hate between Pakistani. These Mullas are not capable of anything beyond street protest and hate mongering. Just see them destroy Pakistan.Recommend

  • KW Shariff
    Jan 10, 2011 - 6:41PM

    I myself have stopped going to Sultan Masjid due to his radical and emotional rants, as I sat listening I was wondering, why this guy is even leading the prayers. He should be replaced with an balanced Maulana sb. This guy is working on a political agenda.Recommend

  • Mian Radial
    Jan 10, 2011 - 6:53PM

    it is odious for any sane person to pray behind such criminals. listening to a madman’s friday sermons and praying behind him is not required in any religion. until a mosque is led by an educated and thoughtful pesh imam who speaks intelligently and honestly about religious topics, I say boycott all friday prayers at that mosque. Recommend

  • Ajay
    Jan 10, 2011 - 8:09PM

    In the name of religion, these illiterate monkeys are acting like judges pronouncing judgments (fatwas, etc) in Friday sermons. These mosques and Friday prayers have become a huge loudspeaker for them which even politicians don’t have.

    Only when people stop going to mosques, not caring what these mullahs or imams say will these idits become irrelevant.

    It is difficult to believe that these guys control everybody’s lives in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Naushad Shafkat
    Jan 10, 2011 - 10:24PM

    Your story regarding the lodging of a complaint against the Imam of the Sultan Mosque in D.H.A. Karachi, makes interesting reading. Responsible and respected people are the complainants and the Police are again at their worst (I almost said best). The Police Officer says ““We spoke to the imam. He said that this is absolutely not the case,” Case closed. So sweet and simple. What does he mean ‘spoke to the Imam’. Why was he not called to record his statement? Imagine what would have happened if the Imam had lodged a complaint against the present complainants or any other respectable citizens; an F.I.R. would have been lodged, night raids would have been conducted to arrest them and the Police would have said; “We received a complainant and registered an F.I.R. The accused can prove themselves innocent in court”. Not only that but your story talks of the Imam being an employee of a foreign consulate and therefore probably entitled to ‘diplomatic immunity’; and the Police Officer says; “If it turns out that he is an employee of the Saudi consulate and has diplomatic immunity, the police will file an FIR based on the law for foreigners.” Diplomatic immunity to a Pesh Imam? That is the most ludicrous statement and shows the extent to which the police will go to avoid taking action. Though I must express my fear that such immunity may be upheld by the present Supreme Court which incidentally has never heard of sovereign immunity.
    When the Police high-ups talk about improving the image of the Police they must first take cognizance of this attitude of their officers. The officer in-charge of a Police station can devise numerous such devious ways to favour whom he wills. Until and unless the law prevails and not personal whims and fancies the people can never have faith in the Police. And rightly so.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Jan 10, 2011 - 11:24PM

    Why the word “mullah”? It seems to be too general and to easy to misuse by those who’ll just label everybody they disagree with a “mullah”. To me it looks like too many even on this forum here use that term way to liberally and way to generally. Its hate from the other end of the spectrum and doesn’t solve any problemsRecommend

  • raza
    Jan 11, 2011 - 12:15AM

    Pakistan consists of more than 100 million illiterate people, who can issue fatwas every day, I face two or three fatwas in week from the illiterate people of my colony but I can’t do anything because I have no powers like they have.
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201119\story9-1-2011pg1_1Recommend

  • MAK
    Jan 11, 2011 - 12:36AM

    I remember waiting for a bus outside the Sultan Masjid area right before juma prayers ( 8 yrs ago). The Imam at that time was giving his friday sermon. And I distinctly remember him saying on the loud speaker that all qadianis are kaafirs and that all the muslims brothers in the mosque must say so out loud with him in one voice. I was shocked. If it is still that same maulvi, I am surprised he hasn’t been taken to task long before now.
    This country needs an Ataturk.Recommend

  • Anti Secularism (but not Liberal)
    Jan 11, 2011 - 12:52AM

    All those who are calling these “Molvees” with such foolish names
    just first look into your collars and then say anything………………

    I am sorry but our society has more Liberal EXTREMISTS then Secular one ………….its hard but TrueRecommend

  • asma
    Jan 11, 2011 - 2:13AM

    There is something seriously wrong with this Imam. When my father died the namaz-e-janaza was held in this masjid. The imam was very rude saying that you bring bodies for namaz-e-janaza but do not come for prayers, although how he knew that all those who came with the body do not pray, I have little idea. He had no right to say that-he should just do the job he is assigned to do! Another incident I witnessed here in London. The Imam would not let the women inside and on top of that he forbid everyone the last glance of the dead person! May Allah protect Islam and us from these jahil Mullahs. He is lying on the face that he did not say anything about Sherry Rahman. He must be removed because he has become a threat to all of us and is not worthy of being followed. He is a LIAR.Recommend

  • Jan 11, 2011 - 3:58AM

    Acting like an authority for death penalty in the name of religion, has now become a fad.Recommend

  • Mustafa Khan
    Jan 11, 2011 - 1:17PM

    I am so proud of all my sisters and brothers who have the guts to stand up and fight the mullah power. Preachers need to be put of tight leash.Recommend

  • GH
    Jan 11, 2011 - 2:42PM

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/101948/sultan-masjid-imam-issuing-fatwas-is-a-muftis-job-and-i-am-not-one/

    Now what will be the punishment of False allegation made by sherry???
    Who will you believe??Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Jan 11, 2011 - 3:35PM

    Seeing liberals letting their frustrations on the internet is funny. Recommend

  • Maha
    Jan 11, 2011 - 7:09PM

    Of course the police would deny it. The country has gone to the dogs, I don’t even see the point of having a legal system any more.

    And all liberals can do is vent on the internet, there’s too few to actually create change. Liberals are seen as alien life forms that must be eradicated; what place do they have in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Jan 11, 2011 - 9:56PM

    Our agencies monitor our daily lives. They monitor our masjids and they monitor other common men and women. But they cannot – or do not want to – monitor or capture real terrorists who blow up FIA or CID or mosques or kill and maim common Pakistanis. Who are we fooling? Recommend

  • Reasoner
    Jan 14, 2011 - 11:17AM

    “”“Intelligence agencies monitor Friday sermons and according to their report, such an event did not take place. We have told the complainant, Ali Kamran Chishti, to substantiate this [accusation],” SHO Amjad added.”””

    Wow, does police ask blasphemy complainants to substantiate their claims ????
    Why this double standard ????Recommend

  • Danish
    Feb 3, 2011 - 3:29PM

    I agree that mullahs are illiterate. But the solution is not that we should do something against them. But it must be our job that we literate people bring our children in this field. Make your children Islamic scholars. Why all of the mullahs are from small towns and villages, why don’t we see any mullah from a well educated / well established family?Recommend

  • Asim
    Feb 3, 2011 - 4:14PM

    @Danish:
    Very good question that why don’t we any mullah from a well educated/well established family. Answer to this is that it does not pay well enough or we as a society do not find it acceptable for our children to go in this field as we do not think it will earn them good money. However, having said that one of my cousins who is educated from an American University with honors and LUMS with honors is giving his time for the promotion of Islam with love, tolerance, education and logical reasoning while working in his family business. So, he is earning for his family while earning rewards in front of Allah. May Allah help him and all of us to the right path which is of peace, love, education, caring for fellow human beings and all living things.Recommend

  • Hamaad Haider
    Feb 3, 2011 - 7:09PM

    Bring this Mullah and all other uneducated preachers like him to justice. Ban him from his title until proven innocent. We have allowed this spread of ‘jahalat’ far too long. We all must put our foot down and intervene in every situation we can. Silence is not an option.

    We must push for “repeal” (not amendment) of this blasphemous Blasphemy Law. It is entirely contrary to the prescriptions of the Quran. This kind of blind fanaticism must be stopped now – and by us. Recommend

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