ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reformist Besieged


On February 13, 2000, Sunday,  in the afternoon, Asghar Ali  Engineer, the internationally renowned Islamic scholar, human rights activist, ardent champion of inter-faith dialogue and understanding, and Bohra reformist was physically assaulted at the Mumbai (Bombay) airport by the cronies of Syedna, the chief of Bohra priesthood. As a result, badly bruised and bleeding, he has been admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment, investigation and observation. Subsequently, his residence and office (Centre for Study of Society and Secularism) were also ransacked by a gang of hoods owing allegiance to Syedna. As per available reports three persons have been detained by the police.

Engineer, as is well known, has dedicated his life to the cause of liberating his community, the Bohras. The Bohras are a small Islamic sect whose members are generally engaged in trade and business and mostly found in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Engineer worked to free them of the stranglehold of the priesthood. As a consequence, he has had to suffer not only social ostracism by a significant section of his community members, but also physical assaults both in India and abroad.

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