Muslim scholar shot dead for ‘blasphemy’

Muslim scholar shot dead for ‘blasphemy’

Muhammad Shakil Auj, accused by zealots in Pakistan of blasphemy for a speech he gave during a visit to the US, was shot and killed in Karachi.

Auj, according to this report, was the dean of Islamic studies at the state-run University of Karachi.

Unidentified gunmen on a motorbike last Thursday attacked the vehicle he was riding in on his way to a reception at his honor at the Iranian Consulate.

He was shot in the head and neck and died immediately, officials said. A female student in the back of the car was shot in the arm and was treated at a hospital.

A week earlier, a visiting religious scholar at the same Islamic studies department, Maulana Masood Baig, was also shot dead by unknown attackers.

Auj, 54, had earlier complained to the police about death threats he began receiving after delivering a speech in the United States in 2012, his colleagues and the police said.

Nasir Lodhi, a senior police official, said that Auj told the police that four professors at the University of Karachi had accused him of blasphemy for comments he made during that speech.

Lodhi said he could not say where the speech was made, nor the nature of the offending comments.

Auj lodged a criminal complaint against the four professors, who were later arrested by the police. One of them, Dr Abdul Rasheed, had previously held Auj’s position as dean of Islamic studies at the university. The four men face trial but are currently free on bail, the police said.

Around the same time, a religious seminary in Karachi issued a fatwa against Auj, accusing him of blasphemy and calling for his death.

Pir Muhammad Shah, a senior police official, said the four professors were being questioned again after Auj’s killing.

At this stage, it is premature to say anything about the killing of Auj.

Blasphemy is punishable by death under Pakistani law, and accusations of blasphemy have inspired a rising tide of vigilante killings in recent years that are seen as a sign of growing intolerance in the country.

Human rights groups say the laws are frequently abused in pursuit of personal or professional grudges.

Auj, who was considered a progressive liberal in his field, had written 15 books about Islam and was a regular participant in television debates about religious issues, according to a profile on the University of Karachi website.

Last month, the government awarded him a presidential medal of distinction for his contribution in the fields of education and research.

The Karachi police chief, Ghulam Qadir Thebo, announced a reward of two million rupees, the equivalent of about $20,000, for information leading to the arrest of the academic’s killers.

His students mounted a protest outside Karachi University. On campus, some teachers said they would indefinitely boycott their classes.

Said Ahmad Ali Shah, a student at the Islamic studies department:

The government has failed to protect our teachers.

Meanwhile it was reported here that an Iranian court last week sentenced a blogger to death for insulting the the “prophet” Mohammed.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said 30-year-old Soheil Arabi was found guilty of sabb al-nabi – “insulting the prophet” –  on August 30. He was arrested along with his wife in November of last year, after Revolutionary Guard forces kicked down his door while he and his family were still sleeping.

Arabi was accused of using numerous Facebook accounts to post messages deemed insulting to “the imams and the prophet Mohammed”, but claimed in court he had done so “without thinking and in poor psychological condition”, an informed source told the human rights group.

Hat tip: M A Chohan and BarrieJohn

16 responses to “Muslim scholar shot dead for ‘blasphemy’”

  1. Newspaniard says:

    In barbaric countries like Pakistan, little or no effort will be made to find the killers, in fact they are probably on flights to their English haven as I write.

  2. Toto says:

    Ah yes. Here we have good muslims doing the work of their god. Islam …the religion of peace. If on a whim you want anyone killed, rubbed out, assassinated, removed from the board, taken out,blown away, snuffed, bumped off or just murdered in cold blood for any reason such at all then just say that person has blasphemed. Easy, quick and cheap. Wonderful. Great country pakistan.

  3. Mephisto says:

    Welcome to Islam. A religion totally unsuited to and incompatible with civilised society. Muslim Question anyone?

  4. Paul Cook says:

    How hateful is all this.
    An insult to the prophet what a pile of dogshit.
    How can you insult a concept? How can you insult someone dead ( if he ever lived), how insular ? how pathetic of are these people to murder someone for a speech. For words. Nothing can be so hurtful as to do such a terrible thing- yet religion always always finds a reason.

    I would bet my entire life saving the murderers will not have seen the so called ‘offending’ speech as they would likely be too ignorant or too stupid to even be able to read and write.

    What evil people.

  5. Trevor Blake says:

    A proud day for Muslim apologists. Let them step forward and tell us of their good works.

  6. AgentCormac says:

    When your religion cannot win the argument through reason it’s time to reach for the gun. (Or the stake, which of course used to be the christians’ preferred tool for murdering anyone who disagreed with them.)

  7. Toto says:

    Pakistan…..a lawless failed state, a beggar nation, wholly dependent upon hand outs from the civilised west, a nation of self hate, a nation of self pity, a nation contemptuous of all other nations, a nation that shamelessly leeches off civilised countries, a nation that makes absolutely no contribution to science , technology, medicine, the arts, literature or any other worthwhile human pursuit. A nation founded wholly on the ideals of that most pernicious, backward , negative, primitive and arrogant of all religions…..islam. Pakistan …..the shit on the shoe of humanity.

  8. John Coffin says:

    And did they even bother to say what is ‘blasphemy’ WAS?

    The Religion of Taking Murderous Offence doesn’t seem to require even a pretense of cause. Of course the Iranian Embassy must be a sink of Shia depravity too…

    ‘Takfir:’ the preemptive conviction of other muslims for ‘doing it wrong’ is, I thought, only allowed by some Sunni traditions. Is the idea spreading. It is wonderfully convenient to identify any personal grudge or anger with divine punishment.

  9. Carlynot says:

    Sad. And american christians keep crying about their imaginary persecution.

  10. Stephen Turner says:

    And four fellow professors accused him of ‘blasphemy’. Presumably they were aware what risk this would expose him to, but they didn’t give a fig about that. And just imagine what sort of university has academics so opposed to debate and free inquiry. Does an Islamic Studies department generate new knowledge of some sort, and if so what’s it about?

    OT, but someone linked to this in the Jesus and Mo comments. It’s instructions for Muslims on how to cut their hair and nails, and it appears to be serious!

  11. barriejohn says:

    Stephen Turner: Yes – it’s all completely kosher, so to speak!

    Therefore if Wednesday is the day of Wajoob (Wajib to perform nail trimming). For example if a person has not trimmed nails for 39 days and 40th day is on Wednesday and if he/she does not trim nails on Wednesday than 40 days would be completed. Then it will be Wajib on him/her to trim nails on Wednesday because it is prohibited and Makrooh-e-Tehreemi to exceed 40 days without trimming nails.

    It’s all quite simple really.

    Allah Tala Knows The Best.

    (Probably written by Stanley Unwin!)

  12. barriejohn says:

    Just in case that wasn’t quite clear:

  13. Matt Westwood says:

    I work with a team of engineers from India (various places: various religions, languages, traditions) and the one thing that truly unites them is their hatred of Pakistan.

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