January 22, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11087

Following Bomb Attack, Islamic Clerics In Pakistan Force Biology Professor Sher Ali To Read Prepared Statement Renouncing Evolution: 'A Woman's Intellect Is Comparatively Less Than That Of A Man From The Perspective Of Allah's Shari'a'

January 22, 2024
Special Dispatch No. 11087

In October 2023, a video emerged on social media showing a group of Islamic religious scholars in the Bannu district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In the film, the clerics are forcing Sher Ali, a teacher of zoology, to renounce, on camera, a number of beliefs and scientific ideas such as Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.[1]

Sher Ali is an assistant professor of biology at the Government Postgraduate Decree College in the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He holds a Master of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Peshawar, and a Master of Philosophy degree in human genetics from the Quaid-e-Azam University of Islamabad.[2]

In some images available on social media, Sher Ali can be seen holding a copy of the book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by internationally acclaimed Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari. Sher Ali is an intellectual who publicly discusses widely respected scientific ideas n Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Islamist groups are powerful.

Sher Ali reads the required renunciation of widely accepted scientific theories.

In May 2022, Sher Ali's car was attacked with a magnetic bomb, leaving him in a wheelchair for months and raising the question among his students and followers whether he would continue to speak at seminars and teach openly. However, in an interview with one of his students from his hospital bed, Sher Ali revealed his optimism that he would continue to teach.[3]

This seems to have prompted a group of radical clerics associated with the Deobandi school of Sunni Islam to gather together to force him to renounce certain scientific ideas. The Deobandi school is named after the Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, the second largest Islamic seminary in the word, after Jamia Al-Azhar of Cairo. The Dar-ul-Uloom seminary is near New Delhi, India. A translation of Sher Ali's renunciation, as written by the clerics, is given below.

Following is the text Sher Ali was forced to read, as translated from the Urdu:

"The issue that arose was resolved through mutual understanding. We have written some points in this declaration. Since most of them are for me, I will read them on social media.

"I, Sher Ali, son of Sharif Khan Sarkakhel, with my senses, willingness, and safety, bearing Allah the Almighty as witness, declare and confirm that Allah is the one and only without any partner, and the Prophet [Muhammad], peace be upon him, is the true messenger of Allah and the last prophet of the prophets, and after whom, there will be no new prophet in any form.

"I accept all the beliefs brought from Allah by the noble Prophet [Muhammad] according to the explanations of scholars from the Ahl-e-Sunnah Wal Jamaat and the Deobandi [school of Sunni Islamic thought], without any doubt or hesitation.

"In times of necessity, I consider the woman observing proper hijab from head to toe when leaving the house to be according to shari'a. As a woman's intellect is comparatively less than that of a man from the perspective of Shari'at-e-Ilahi [Allah's shari'a], I understand this to be correct...

"I consider forced or consensual sex [outside of marriage] to be openly haram [forbidden]. I consider those who accept it as halal [permissible] to be outside the fold of Islam. I consider any form of sexual freedom as openly haram. The interaction of women with men [to whom they are not related] is not permissible. I consider this to be correct.

"I consider all intellectual and scientific ideas and theories that go against Allah's shari'a to be falsehoods, such as Darwin's theory [of evolution]. I declare that I repent all the statements I have made in seminars, lectures, social media posts, comments, and other gatherings that contradict the above-mentioned matter...

"In the future, if I make any kind of speech or written statement that is contrary to the above-mentioned matters and the Islamic opinion, I will be found guilty according to the shari'a, for example, insulting the symbols of Allah, insulting the prophet, denying the hadith [traditions of Muhammad], insulting the Companions [Sahaba of Prophet Muhammad], and so on."


[1], October 20, 2023.

[2], accessed January 12, 2024.

[3], accessed January 12, 2024.

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