Sausage video sparks anger in Pakistan
The image above appears as the introduction to a video showing Reham Khan, the former BBC presenter, cooking and selling pork sausages.
The 41-year-old TV star, who recently married ex-cricketer-turned-Pakistan-politician is of British-Pakistani decent. She can be seen frying the religiously restricted meat at a country fair in West Sussex for the BBC South Today show in 2011.
According to this report, the film – extensively viewed in Pakistan over the last week – also shows Khan wearing “revealing” outfits, and has caused outrage among Islamic conservatives.
It follows weeks of controversies for the newlywed couple, who were criticised for holding a lavish ceremony on January 8, less than a month after the Army Public School massacre in Peshawar.
Taliban militants murdered 150 children and teachers during the attack.
The pair were heckled by parents when they paid a visit to the school to offer their condolences on Wednesday. Said the former presenter:
To be honest, I never thought I’d come back to Pakistan and I never thought I’d have any contact with Pakistanis … Being a woman, you are a target for jealousy.
While it’s a well-known fact that pork is haram in Islamic societies, I have only just learned from this report that pigeon and dove breeding is “un-Islamic” too – and has resulted in the execution of three young men in Iraq by ISIS.
The extremist Islamist fighters this week rounded up 15 boys and young men in the eastern province of Diyala for pursuing the pastime. Three have already been executed, according to a security official in the area.
Abu Abdullah, a 52-year-old farmer, told NBC News about the moment earlier this week that six gunmen barged into his home and dragged away his oldest son, who is 21.
My son was standing beside me. I asked them why, and they said, ‘He is not following the real Islam, he must be punished for being a pigeon breeder. This habit is taking him away from worshiping Allah’.
The fighters put the household’s pigeons in bags and burned them. Then they took away his son.
The hobby, which was especially popular among middle and lower classes before the US invasion in 2003, has been targeted by extremists of all stripes. Suspicion of bird-breeders stems from the fact they tend to feed their animals at the same time devout Muslims traditionally hold their first of five daily prayers.
This distrust has prompted some clerics to issue fatwas against bird breeders.
All this is immaterial for Abu Abdullah, who can only think of his missing son. He said:
We are helpless and hopeless. I know they will kill him sooner or later. I’m waiting for someone to tell me he was killed, and the only thing I will do is to take his body and bury it.
Hat tip: M Chohan (Iraq report)