The beautiful Pakistani actress, Veena Malik, has been accused by a Muslim cleric of being immoral for appearing on an Indian reality show called "Big Boss," which is like our version of "Big Brother." In an appearance with Express News TV, she was confronted by cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi who said that she "disgraced Pakistan, as well as Islam" for appearing on the show (though he admitted to not having watched a single episode of "Big Boss").
Nick Cohen of the Spectator reminds us that "This is no small accusation in Pakistan where Islamist death squads and their collaborators in the state intelligence service, operate at will."
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The cleric also said of Malik:
If she does not have pangs of conscience because of what she did, then I would tell her to awaken her conscience. No one in Pakistan can look at her pictures in the presence of their daughters. I don't think that her son will like to look at his mother's picture in the future, in her presence or in the presence of his father or brother.
Malik's measured and courageous response turned the cleric's admonitions to dust. Among many other things, Malik told him, basically, to buzz off: "There are many other things for you to deal with. There are Islamic clerics who rape the children they teach in their mosques, and so much more."
Here's her full takedown:
Mufti Sahab, first, I would like to respond to all your questions. As far as Islamic religion is concerned – Islam is a vast religion. Islam also means that I am the sole provider for my five sisters and my brother, and I have paid for their education.
Also, as long as you are talking about Islam, let met tell you that you are not allowed to set eyes on me in my present condition. You should be punished in public, because charity begins at home. Clerics may look at a woman once, but if they look at her a second time, they must be punished. You deserve to be punished, because you are not allowed to look at me in this condition.
Secondly, if you want to do something for the glory of Islam, you have plenty of opportunities. What are the politicians doing? Bribery, robbery, theft, and killing in the name of Islam. There are many things to talk about. Why Veena Malik? Because Veena Malik is a woman? Because Veena Malik is a soft target for you? What has Veena Malik done? Did Veena Malki lip-lock? Did Veena Malik wear shorter clothes than what Pakistani actresses wore in India in the past? Why Veena Malik, Mufti Sahab?
There are many other things for you to deal with. There are Islamic clerics who rape the children they teach in their mosques, and so much more.
Pakistan is infamous for many reasons other than Veena Malik. Veena Malik is entertainment, and believe me, I have done 10,000 good deeds, and my people have not supported me in this. Since you have set up a court here, I demand that the court dispense justice. I am more angry with you people than you are with me. If I am held accountable by you, then you too must answer my questions.
Mufti Sahab, there are many things in your community that need to be rectified, so please correct them. Veena Malik and the entertainment industry are much further down on the list.
Here's a Muslim woman from Pakistan--Pakistan--who has a successful career, is supporting her family, and has the courage to talk back to a cleric who clearly takes a dim view of women, telling him flat out "you are wrong."
As Cohen writes, "If we are going to avoid a clash of civilisations, we are going to need many more like the Pakistani actress Veena Malik."