Salute to Asma Jahangir: some upcoming memorial meetings

Asma banner hugThousands attended her funeral in Lahore on Feb 13 – women, men, rich, poor, workers, lawyers, journalists, farmers, ambassadors, ministers. Those who couldn’t attend in person held prayers and vigils in different cities – Karachi, Hyderabad, Peshawar. More are planned in cities around Pakistan and the world. Below, a list of some memorial events planned that I know of, to give a flavor of what she means to us – us being Asma’s tribe, peacemongers who love and fight for peace, democracy, equal rights, human rights and freedom. Continue reading


Remembering Shahab Ahmed


The Orkestra Marhabba: haunting Turkish sama’a music. 

Colleagues, students, family and friends of the late Shahab Ahmed gathered on Nov 15  evening at an elegant and dignified memorial where speakers remembered him as a friend, a brother, a scholar, a poet, a translator and a seeker of Truth (his first book, What is Islam? has just been published).  Continue reading

Pakistani scholar Nasser Hussain laid to rest

Nasser HussainSo sorry to have to share this news, about the younger brother of a childhood friend. Obituary below. Also see this article by one of his former students that so elegantly sums up his passions in life.

BOSTON: Karachi-born Nasser Hussain, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College, USA, passed away in the early hours of Nov 9 after an extended illness, at the residence of his brother Omar Hussain in the Boston area. He was 50.

Scholars, friends and family from around the world including his elderly mother Sultana Hussain from Karachi, gathered for his funeral on Friday. His father Captain (Retd.) Tajammul Hussain, Pakistan Navy, passed away in January 2014. Continue reading

Haider, jigar, are you at peace now?

Haider in Gilgit-fb pageMy article on a journalist, activist, humanist, friend, eternal optimist and conflicted human being who left us forever recently. Illustrations by Feica. published a slightly abbreviated version titled ‘Journalist, optimistic rebel who stood up to General Zia’s excesses’, breaking the text up with sub-heads that I’ve used in the full text below. Their intro: “Haider Rizvi was a Pakistani journalist and activist who passed away in Lahore on October 29. His three-decade-long journalistic career began in Pakistan. He moved to the US in the mid-1990s and covered the United Nations, before returning to Pakistan in 2013 and taking up a job as a lecturer. He was 52.”
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Rest in peace, Shahab Ahmed, prominent Islamic scholar from Pakistan

A beautiful sunny day…  and Shahab Ahmed’s funeral. His friends, including prominent scholars some of whom had known him for decades and traveled long distances to be there, like Kamran Ali Asdar and Shahnaz Rouse; many from Harvard like Homi Bhabha, Parimal Patil, Asad Ali Ahmed, Martha Minnow, Asim Khwaja; students and former students now themselves teachers; family members; all devastated and in shock. We were together in this panel at Harvard on the ‘blasphemy’ issue a few years back. I had last heard from him in July when his then fiancé Nora replied on his behalf to an email I’d sent. That’s when I learnt he was ill in hospital. My report today, basically just getting the facts out for now. Thanks to Nora for sharing his biographical details and photo at her time of grief. (NOTE: Updated below with comments from Michael Cook, his dissertation advisor, and others):

Prominent Islamic scholar Shahab Ahmed laid to rest

Shahab Ahmed-Photo by Rehan Lashari

Shahab Ahmed in Pakistan. Photo by Rehan Lashari, courtesy Nora Lessersohn

Prominent Islamic scholar Shahab Ahmed, originally from Pakistan, was laid to rest on Saturday morning at the historic Mt. Auburn cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, his adopted home. Born in Singapore on Dec 11, 1966, he passed away on Sept 17, 2015 in Boston.
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