This is a very sad night for me. I have just received news that a good friend in Pakistan, Dr.Muhammad Farooq Khan, has been killed today in the Swat Valley. He was for a long time on the Taliban hit list, because of his moderate views. He was a good man and a man of peace. The world will be poorer without him. May Allah rest him in peace!
I have met Dr. Farooq a few years ago in Istanbul, at a Channels of Hope training. Channels of Hope is a World Vision programme training Christian and Muslim leaders on alleviation of stygma related to HIV & AIDS.
After this training, Dr. Farooq, a well known psychiatrist and a public personality of national stature in Pakistan, has been involved in training Muslim leaders in his country for using this effective methodology.
Two years ago, when I visited Pakistan, I had the privilege of meeting again Dr. Farooq, in Islamabad. It was during the Taliban offensive in the Swat Valley, where he resided. He was already aware that the Taliban intend to assassinate him, but he continued courageously his campaign of presenting a moderate view of Islam and of teaching democratic values in the Pakistani society, through radio, television, books, articles and many other means.
During this visit, I became aware that such moderate voices in Islamic societies need to be heard in the West. Unfortunately, what we hear most of the time are the voices of the Islamic integrists on the one side and those of the Islamofobs on the other.
A few months after my visit, I have received news from him that his life is seriously in danger and that he needs help to be resided for a while outside of Pakistan. I tried to convince my World Vision colleagues that we need to do something about this, but I was unsuccessful. I was rarely more discontent with my chronic lack of persuasive skills.
Now, over a year after that, the inevitable happened. Dr Farooq was assassinated today, Saturday, 2 October 2010, in his clinic in Swat Valley.
A colleague of mine in World Vision Pakistan told me that he invited Dr. Farooq to speak to our staff on 1 October, the World Vision Day of Prayer, but he declined and apologised, explaining that he dedicates every Friday to the deindoctrination of the talibans who were captured by the army. This dedication has just cost him his life. We have lost in Dr. Farook an advocate for peace in this world which is full of hatred between East and West, between Christians and Muslims. This could have not happened at a worst time.
You may find below a few details about the life and mission of this man of faith.
My Vision and Mission
In my opinion there are ten basic values which should be honored by every individual, community, country and the whole mankind. These essential and fundamental values are:
- Human equality and democratic culture
- Hard work and thorough struggle
- Law abiding mentality
- Wisdom and patience
- Strong and well-coordinated welfare institutions for the down trodden classes.
The Muslims usually blame others for their plight, but in my view the internal factors are much more important than the external factors and once we overcome our weaknesses and shortcomings then the external world will become favorable slowly and steadily.
Development and dignity of Pakistan and the Ummah is based on the efforts to achieve these ideals and standards. It is very clear that a thorough struggle is needed in this regard. This struggle should be totally free from any kind of violence, sentimentalism and provocative rhetoric.
I always strictly follow the teachings of Quran, Sunnah, and my conscience in pondering over all the collective issues and problems facing us. In my opinion, the Muslim Ummah needs a comprehensive discussion and consensus on the following issues:
- Status of Women in Islamic Society
- The real instructions of Islam regarding Jihad and Qital
- The true perspective of Islamic teachings in crimes and punishment
- Islamic instructions regarding relations between Muslims and Non-Muslims
- Jihad, Qital aur Aalam-e-Islam (Urdu)
- Islam Kya hai?(Urdu)
- Islam and Women (Urdu & English)
- Dialogue with the West (English)
- Kashmir Issue (Urdu & English)
- Ikkisween Saddi aur Pakistan (Urdu)
- Jadeed Zehan Kay Shubhat Aur Islam Ka Jawab (Urdu)
- Hudood aur Qisas wa Diyat Ordinance Ka Tanqeedi Jaiza (Urdu)
- To bring democratic culture in Muslim states.
- To resolve all the disputes and conflicts through peaceful means.
- To dominate and inculcate the above mentioned ten basic collective values in their states.
- To make a serious and conscious advance in the field of science and technology.
- I have written extensively on the above issues.
On Monday morning, we will meet for a few minutes in Islamabad office to reflect on Dr. Farooq’s humanitarian services in Pakistan. We will also read out a condolence letter to the staff which has been drafted for his family. This letter will be delivered to the family by a WV represented based in KPK.