Pakistan: Rock star turned Islamic scholar accused of blasphemy

Junaid Jamshaid, Islamic preacher accused of blasphemy in Pakistan

Latest uproar targets prominent former rock star’s comments about one of Muhammad’s wives

<p>A sign at a rally in Karachi on Monday denounces prominent Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed for making allegedly blasphemous remarks.</p>

A sign at a rally in Karachi on Monday denounces prominent Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed for making allegedly blasphemous remarks.

  • reporter, Karachi, Pakistan, December 2, 2014

Hundreds of Islamists took to the streets in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi on Monday, demanding the immediate arrest of prominent Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed for uttering what they described as “blasphemous” remarks against one of the Prophet Muhammad’s wives.

The protest was held after a video of Jamshed, a former rock star, went viral on social media, in which he narrated a conversation between the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Hazrat Ayesha.

“Mother Ayesha was an attention seeker. She would often fake illness to gain the attention of the Prophet Muhammad,” he told a gathering. “Even a prophet’s companionship cannot change the nature of a woman,” he said.

On Monday, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek and other religious groups set up a protest camp at Numaish Roundabout in Karachi to demand the filing of a case against the preacher for “hurting religious sentiments of Muslims”.

“Juniad Jamshed should be immediately arrested and put on trial under the blasphemy laws,” Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, chief of Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, told demonstrators.

“He doesn’t deserve to be forgiven for his sacrilegious remarks about the Mother of Believers, Hazrat Ayesha,” he said as the crowd chanted slogans against the preacher.

In a video statement, Tableeghi Jamaat (Preaching Party) head Maulana Tariq Jameel also condemned the video and asked his disciple to repent and seek forgiveness before all Muslims in the media.

“I have seen a clip of Junaid Jamshed. He has made a big mistake due to his ignorance, folly and low knowledge.… It should not be linked with me or my party in any way,” he said.

In a late night video statement uploaded on Facebook, the teary-eyed preacher apologized for his comments.

“My dear elders, brothers and sisters, I made unfair remarks about the Mother of Believers due to my ignorance and low knowledge. I am not any scholar or Mufti. I admit my mistake before the whole Muslim world and seek forgiveness from the Almighty.”

Blasphemy laws carry life imprisonment or death sentence and in some cases, mere allegations can spark mob violence.

Last month, an infuriated Muslim mob in Punjab province lynched a Christian couple and threw the man’s body in a burning brick-making kiln on charges of blasphemy.

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Categories: Asia, Pakistan

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