Pakistan’s Liberal religious scholar Dr. Shakeel Auj shot dead in Karachi
A liberal religious scholar and professor of Islamic Studies at Karachi University Dr Shakeel Auj shot dead by unknown assailants in Karachi, Pakistan.
Dr. Shakeel Auj, a liberal religious scholar and professor and a dean of Islamic Studies at Karachi University was shot dead on 18 September 2014 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was shot down by unknown assailants. He was accused of blasphemy for a speech given by him during his visit to the United States in 2012.
Earlier, a madrassa in Karachi issued a fatwa (religious decree) relating to his alleged blasphemy and called for his death. The fatwa that declared the professor as wajibul qatl (liable to be killed) was made public via SMS messages.
About Dr. Shakeel Auj
• He was a person with unorthodox and liberal views and thus had frequent run-ins with the conservative ulemas
• As a professor, he is known for his statements such as a Muslim woman could marry non-Muslim and Muslim women can say their prayers without removing their lipsticks
• He had written 15 books about Islam and was a regular participant of television debates about religious issues
• For his contributions in the fields of education and research, he was awarded a Presidential medal of distinction by the Pakistan government in August 2014
Death of Auj in an attack is not the first incident in Pakistan, but in recent few years, liberal scholars of the country has seen hundred of such attacks as documented in Scholars at Risk Network. Apart from this, Pakistan was ranked sixth most heavily affected countries for violence against schools and universities in the report Education under Attack 2014 released by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.