Islamabad: June 12, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer was a real advocate of Peace, humanist and a genuine scholar, who rendered his life for the well being of humans. He always stood for non violent behaviors and worked for peaceful society.
This was observed by the speakers at a reference for the late religious scholar and social scientist, Dr Asghar Ali Engineer, who passed away in Mumbai on May 14, 2013.
The reference was organized by Asian Muslims Action Network (AMAN), Asian Muslims Lawyers Human Rights Network with the support of Intermedia Pakistan (IP) in at Islamabad.
Renowned scholar AH Nayyar said Asghar Ali was a “baghi” who in teen age challenged his community leader, who created hurdles for him and he was disassociated from the community but he didn’t bow down and continued his struggle.
Adnan Rahmat, Executive Director IP, social activist Tahira Abdullah, social scientist Dr. Rakhshanda Parveen, Zaigham Khan of IP, peace activist Adam Malik, Abdullah Dayo, human rights defender & peace activist Lala Hassan, AMAN council member Uzma Mahboob and others said Asghar Ali Engineer was not only a social scientist but was also a social reformer and he had authored the book ‘Ideology and development of Islam’ wherein he had postulated that the dawn of Islam was a revolution by itself.
They said Engineer was a brave man and was assaulted six times, twice almost fatally, by orthodox Bohras, simply for fighting constitutionally against the absolute hold of the Syedna over the community; it would have been easy for him to give up a fight he began openly in 1973, with an article in The Times of India. The social boycott against him declared by the Bohra clergy cut him off for years from his family, including his mother, and in his words, “almost drove him mad”.
Speakers said his way was to change minds and every communal riot was investigated by him personally, or by his team, to trace the root causes, for as he said, religion was not the cause of conflict, its political use was.
They told that Dr Asghar Engineer won many awards, but the one that suited him best was the Right Livelihood Award or the Alternate Nobel, given to him in 2004 “for promoting religious and communal co-existence, tolerance and mutual understanding”.
He wrote many books and articles on the issues of Peace, Islam and women and Engineer also served as head of the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, both of which he founded in 1980 and 1993 respectively. He was also the Chairman of Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN). Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer’s autobiography A Living Faith: My Quest for Peace, Harmony and Social Change was released in New Delhi on 20 July 2011.
Issued by Lala Hasan, AMAN