Muslim hardliner allegedly blasphemed
Junaid Jamshed, a pop star-turned-televangelist isn’t smiling now. In fact, the ‘born-again’ Pakistani Muslim is in hiding in London after he was accused of blasphemy.
According to this report, Jamshed has no immediate plans to return to Pakistan following news that police in Karachi have opened an investigation into his “blasphemous” remarks contained in a video in which the 50-year-old evangelist – in a bid to show that women were, by their very nature, attention-seekers – cited Mohammed’s child bride Ayesha as an example.
Freethinker reader M A Chohan translated some of the remarks made in the video. They include:
• Ayesha often used to lie down feigning illness.• She wrapped a cloth around the head and made sounds ‘haey, haey’ – a moan of pain.
• Even in a prophet’s company, a woman cannot change.
This is my mistake and it happened because of my ignorance and lack of knowledge and I seek forgiveness from the Muslim world. I request my brothers to forgive me and I am thankful to them for pointing out my mistake, it happened unintentionally and I seek forgiveness from Allah.
However, Mohammad Mobin Qadri, a Sunni Tehreek leader who accused Jamshed of blasphemy, said this was “irrelevant,” and demanded the former pop star answer for his alleged crime
Qadri’s organization has also organised rallies across Pakistan, demanding Jamshed be arrested.
The number of blasphemy cases being lodged with police in Pakistan has been steadily rising in recent years and even unproven allegations often prompt mob retribution.
A lawyer defending a blasphemy accused professor in Multan was shot dead earlier this year, while his replacement has been threatened to stop his defence or risk retaliation.
The blasphemy allegations have already hurt Jamshed’s standing as an Islamic scholar, with a non-profit Muslim charity cancelling a scheduled appearance in Edinburgh to avoid controversy.
The Tableeghi Jamaat, a conservative Sunni evangelical group often associated with Jamshed’s “born-again” Muslim status, has also taken steps to distance itself from the former singer. In a video posted online, Jamaat leader Maulana Tariq Jameel upbraided Jamshed for his controversial remarks.
Jameel said Jamshed telephoned him in tears after the video was posted and assured him that he had never meant to insult anyone.
Everyone can commit such a mistake. These people [Sunni Tehreek] have given it a sectarian colour, made it into an issue of Muslim vs non-Muslim, which it is not.
Jameel said that he supported Jamshed and had accepted his apology.
Issues like these will lead to my country’s ruin.
Jamshed, who rose to prominence as the frontman of the pop band Vital Signs, quit music in 2004 and joined the Tableeghi Jamaat. He also runs a chain of clothing stores and hosts a televised show on Islam.
This is not the first time his words have caused controversy. In his role as televangelist, he has urged Muslim women not to leave their houses without a male guardian and also discouraged them from driving cars.
The former singer maintains his innocence, but appears to have become dejected by the blasphemy allegations. In a recent tweet, he said:
I never thought I would ever receive so much pain from the people of my country.
Hat tip: M A Chohan