There Is (Or Was) An Elephant In The Room.

lambda_glass_lg.gifThere is an elephant in the room. A bull in the china shop. A cat amongst the pigeons. A komodo in our kimono. Who will bag it and tag it?

Higher Education Commission (HEC) hired a pioneer supporter of Muslim lesbians and gays as associate professor in the women campus of the International Islamic University (IIU)…Dr Ghazala Anwar pioneers the movement of ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender intersex and questioning’ (LGBTIQ) Muslims…The female professor was promoted to deputy dean of Asuluddin faculty (women campus)…Her questionable religious interpretations sparked protests by female students… One of the IIU students, commented that neither did anybody know her track record nor did anyone suspect her of deliberately making controversial references…soon some of the students found a pattern in her comments and ran online searches to uncover a shocking reality.

PhD Dr Ghazala Anwar, who had responded to the brouhaha created by her personal beliefs with: “This controversy provides us with an opportunity to exercise our conflict resolution skills, to develop rules by which we can discuss and disagree about topics that might be sensitive or volatile, and to resolve the issue in a manner that our relationships are enhanced.” was fired shortly after reports highlighting her commitment to the rights of ‘sexual minorities’ peppered the pages of local papers.

14 Comments so far

  1. SELF (unregistered) on February 20th, 2007 @ 11:09 pm

    Backpacker: With all due respect, I have to ask what is the point you are making here? Are you inviting discussion on the “h” subject or supporting her or opposing her or what? :)

    As you have not put words ‘questionable’ and ‘shocking’ in quotes I am assuming you are against? Surely you are not surprised that “h” thing exists? :)

    And damn the internet where anyone can search all about a person’s history. :P


  2. SELF (unregistered) on February 20th, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

    PS: What you do expect from Apple’s alma matter? They do allow some crazy people in from time to time……for different reasons I hasten to add . :P

    Apple, kick me under the table if it is going too far. :)


  3. A for [pine]Apple (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 12:50 am

    She’s already fired by the HEC and they said it was a mistake. Kinda strange one though – so elephant’s a WAS now. Anyways I wont comment much since after reading some 50+ posts on the same topic in my email box — I’m really fed up of any such issues’ existence.

    @ SELF: Khudara – Just stop adding a SMILEY after every line :@ anyways that’s my alma matter that I thoroughly love but usuluddin always treated us like kafirs – so let them clean their own mess.


  4. SELF (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 1:24 am

    “usuluddin always treated us like kafirs”

    Then what they did in this case reminds me of the Punjabi saying “siana kaan..” but I wont quote it here.

    I got the habit of similies form what’s his name..MU…blame him. :P


  5. 1967 (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 1:44 am

    The topic is open for debate that’s why it is here. I am not convinced firing anyone just because they have an opinion about something that does not really go well with the masses is an appropriate thing to do. Tomorrow, who knows people would be firing others because you failed to show up in a bath robe wearing a fan belt on your head.


  6. iFaqeer (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 2:51 am

    This is a discussion we need to have–and not just in email. Which is why it is a good thing it’s happening here.

    I am a little vague about the elephant you refer to…the existence of Homosexuality? Or the beliefs Dr. Anwar held…


  7. Asad (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 8:37 am

    Tolerance is one thing but support for such groups should not be present and via such people too. Universities are places for education, not the finer details of how a woman makes off with another woman, or a man with a man.

    I wonder if she supports kiddo p0rn and bestiality too? Disgusting…


  8. Nosheen (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 10:51 am

    News reports as follows the complete perspective
    IIU pro-homosexuality female professor sparks protests

    By Naveed Ahmad

    ISLAMABAD: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has hired a pioneer supporter of Muslim lesbians and gays as associate professor in none other than Asuluddin (Islamic jurisprudence) faculty in women campus of International Islamic University (IIU).

    Dr Ghazala Anwar pioneers the movement of ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender intersex and questioning’ (LGBTIQ) Muslims and even led Juma and other prayers in Canada, United States, New Zealand and elsewhere.

    The website of Higher Education Commission, in its list of approved supervisors, also identifies her as foreign professor of Islamic Humanities in the International Islamic University. She is located at serial number 58 on the online list.

    The female professor was promoted to deputy dean of Asuluddin faculty (women campus) on January 9. Her questionable religious interpretations sparked protests by female students some time in December but the HEC-hired foreign professor had left by then for New Zealand.

    One of IIU students, requesting anonymity, told The News, “Neither did anybody know her track record nor did any one suspect her of deliberately making controversial references . . . soon some of the students found a pattern in her comments and ran online searches to uncover a shocking reality.”

    In one of her lecture available online, Dr Ghazala Anwar said, “Hatred or denigration of those whom God made different whether in gender, sexual orientation or religious belief and practice ensues from putting other than God at the centre of ones’ heart and worship. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Muslims are to be judged by the quality of their faith, the purity of their intentions and the goodness and selflessness of their actions as any other Muslim or human being.” She continued, “They have the God-given right to be treated in the manner that God commanded us to treat each other.” She went on to say that, “The larger Muslim community has to come to the recognition that homophobia and not homosexuality is the sin.”

    Prior to her appointment at the prestigious IIU, Dr Ghazala Anwar has been teaching at School of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, in New Zealand since 2000. Previously she had taught at a number of universities in the United States, including Temple University, where she completed her PhD in Religion in 1993. She took her BA at Kalamazoo, Michigan, her first MA in English Literature at Aligarh Muslim University in India, and her second MA in Humanities at the University of Chicago.

    She is an active member of Washington-based Al-Fatiha organization which claims to be “dedicated to Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, those exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity, and their allies, families and friends.”

    She has also published here article on female homosexuality and Islam, in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. Dr Ghazala Anwar is also a member of the American Academy of Religion (AAR)’s steering committee on Lesbian Feminist Issues and Religion. She made several presentations during the conferences, often linking the suffering and oppression of LGBTQ Muslims to that of Muslim women and non-Muslim minorities in Islamic countries.

    IIU Rector Dr Anwar Hussain Siddiqui confirmed to The News on telephone that Dr Ghazala Anwar had left for New Zealand. Asked as to when she is returning, the IIU rector said, “In her written letter, she notified the university to return on the next convenient flight.”

    When asked about her questionable views about Islam, Hadith etc, Dr Anwar told The News, “We did not appoint her but the she was hired by the Higher Education Commission.”

    Dr Ghazala was appointed as associate professor in Asuluddin faculty of IIU in September 2006 but she left for New Zealand before completing two assigned courses i.e. Islamic Philosophy and Islamic Civilisation. Despite protests by students, the university management appointed Dr Ghazala as deputy dean of Asuluddin faculty in her absence.

    Dr Anwar confirmed to The News that Dr Ghazala was appointed deputy dean since she was the senior most faculty member amongst her other female colleagues. When contacted on phone, HEC Chairman Dr Atta-ur-Rahman said he did not Dr Ghazala personally. He said, “This is the first time that I have heard Dr Ghazala Anwar’s name.”

    Ghazala Anwar is not the only Muslim female propagating controversial practices. The others include Dr Mona, Raheel Raza, Pamela Taylor, Nakia Jackson. In a Juma prayer in Toronto held on February 19, 2006, Pamela Taylor acted as imam, with former Mufti of Marseilles, Sohaib BenCheikh in congregation.

    Dr Ghazala Anwar speaks

    AUCKLAND: Responding to The News repeated calls and emails for her version over the past four days from here in New Zealand, Ghazala Anwar confirmed her support to LGBTI community terming them as ‘sexual minorities’ and asserted that she considers their act permissible in Islam.

    Dr Ghazala said in her email reply: “As an imperative of my faith in a Compassionate and Merciful Creator, I extend my support to the right of all creatures human and non-human to live their lives in the light of their inner knowing, according to how they were created by the Creator and to their fullest potential. This is what Islam teaches.”

    In line with her support for LGTBI, Ghazala said, “I support the nations’ current efforts to protect the rights of women and of ‘religious minorities’ and I have faith that this right shall be extended to ‘sexual minorities’ as well.”

    She observed: “The rules of ethical living apply to all equally regardless of their gender, race, religion and sexual orientation. Similarly the rights of all must be respected. This is Islam.’ Ghazala continued, “Threatening and silencing people by the use of force is against the teachings of Islam and the example of the Prophet, who it is my conviction is living and watching over his ummah and whose blessings and support I count on, on this occasion.”

    She said, “I want to first talk to those who opposed my appointment as deputy dean and also with those who supported it. I did not seek this office and was not aware of the appointment as it happened in my absence.”

    She said, “My intention in returning to Pakistan, after 33 years, is to contribute in the area of Islamic peace education and conflict resolution.” Ghazala said, “I accepted HEC’s placement at IIUI to help lift the standards of education and research at the institution.”

    About reports of her transfer to GIKI, Topi, Ghazala said, “Yes I have the option of transferring to another institution but since the Rector and the President have extended their support to me on the principle of ‘academic freedom’ I have decided to honor their support by staying at IIUI.” “I love IIUI and even the students (and the faculty behind the students) who may at present oppose my appointment there. It is my faith that my contribution to IIUI will be a positive and lasting one,” she explained.

    Ghazala said, “This controversy provides us with an opportunity to exercise our conflict resolution skills, to develop rules by which we can discuss and disagree about topics that might be sensitive or volatile, and to resolve the issue in a manner that our relationships are enhanced.”


  9. a reader (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 10:59 am

    I cannot believe the homophobia that exists both in this country and on this board. Equating gays and lesbians, or love between two consenting adults, is very different from child pornography or bestiality. And anyway, it does not seem that Dr. Anwar was promoting homosexuality, but calling for gays and lesbians to be treated fairly, decently and equally, without hatred. What is so wrong about that? Her remarks seem much more thoughtful, mature and intelligent than the remarks of her critics!


  10. JayJay (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

    Anyone’s personal beliefs are just that – personal. They cannot and should not affect one’s standing as a teacher. From what I have read Dr Anwar was well qualified to be on the faculty of IIU. If lecturers must be fired because of their personal political or religious worldview, the Punjab University and many other institutions will be left with little staff. Dr Anwar’s homosexuality or her support for it did not hurt anybody but the worldview held by many in Jamaati-dominated institutions is prejudicial, discriminatory and often violent.


  11. A for [pine]apple (unregistered) on February 21st, 2007 @ 2:19 pm
  12. Asad (unregistered) on February 25th, 2007 @ 12:25 am

    To: A Reader

    Apparently, your sarcasm meter is broken. Read the comment again after having it repaired.


  13. Phil (unregistered) on March 7th, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

    Then we should have no problem in rejecting work and job offers from multinational companies and foriegn institutes. Sause for a goose, sause for a gander.

    OR, for west kicking out ‘brother’ muslims out of their countries when they openly profess anti-state and anti-public sentiment. It all makes sense, no?


  14. Anon (unregistered) on March 12th, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

    What I don’t understand is how do her beliefs affect the job she’s doing? Is the support for LGBT poeple so offensive?

    Ok, even if you question her stance, What I simply ask is it so bad to hear an opinion different from yours. Mind you an opinion which she never gave in one of her lectures in Pakistan! Its about time we learn some tolerance and learn to peacefully listen to something which we might not agree upon!



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