Mufti Azizur Rehman was the deputy chief of the JUI party in Lahore, and a teacher at the prestigious Jamia Manzoor ul Islamia.
by Massimo Introvigne
In Pakistan, members of religious minorities, including Christian priests and pastors, are often accused of sexual abuse by radical Islamic political parties and movements. Some of these claims have been proved as false.
We at Bitter Winter strongly believe that everybody should be presumed innocent until declared guilty by a final decision of a court of law. However, within the Pakistani context, it is somewhat significant that a senior fundamentalist Islamic cleric is now at the receiving end of similar accusations. True or false, they should teach the Pakistani public opinion the lesson that sexual abuse accusations and incidents are not typical of religious minorities, and may indeed also happen within the majority Sunni Islam.
Mufti Azizur Rehman, who is in his late sixties, is—or rather was, until a few days ago—the deputy chief of the Lahore chapter of the Islamist party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), whose roots are in the Deobandi movement of Sunni Islam. He was also a teacher at the Jamia Manzoor ul Islamia, one of the most prestigious institutions of Islamic higher learning in the country.
Last week, a video clip of the Mufti caught in the act of sodomizing one of his students went viral in Pakistan. As a result, the administration of the Jamia Manzoor ul Islamia removed him from his teaching position, and he was also suspended by the JUI.
The student claims that three years ago the Mufti accused him of cheating in an exam, and banned him from taking exams in the school for three years. When he visited the Mufti asking to be readmitted, the teacher, according to the student, told him that this was possible if the young man would “make him happy” in a sexual sense.
Years passed, during which the student says the Mufti assaulted him sexually every Friday, but he was still not being readmitted to the exams. This is why, he explains, he used a hidden camera and recorded the Mufti caught in the act.
On June 17, 2021, the police recorded a complaint and started an investigation on Mufti Azizur Rehman. He claims he was framed by the student and “drugged” before being recorded on video.
A warrant for arrest was issued later in the day on June 17. After being on the run for a few days, the Mufti was arrested on June 20. Police claims he has confessed his crimes.