December 23, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 4384

Indian Clerics' Fatwa on Nude Picture of Pakistani Actress Veena Malik Excommunicates Her from Muslim Society

December 23, 2011
Pakistan | Special Dispatch No. 4384

In late-2011, renowned Pakistani actress Veena Malik was at the center of international controversy after she posed for a nude photo for the cover-page of FHM India, a men's magazine. She was widely criticized in Pakistan for the nude photo, which also featured the initials I.S.I. on her arm. I.S.I, the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is accused of masterminding terror attacks against Afghanistan, India, and the U.S./NATO troops in Afghanistan. Her father disowned her following the publication of the nude photo, which she later said was digitally altered by the editors of FHM India.

The Muslim actress, who has mostly worked in India recently, later signed a deal to appear on Swayamvar, a reality show on Indian television, in which she would choose a groom from among several men participating in the show. Following this, Indian clerics in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh issued a fatwa (Islamic decree) excommunicating Veena Malik from Muslim society for denigrating the tradition of Nikah – or Islamic marriage. The fatwa was issued after a two-day meeting by the All India Muslim Tyohar Committee (AIMTC) in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, on December 20-21, 2011.

Veena Malik, who is in her early 30s, has been involved in multiple controversies in 2010-2011. In January 2011, she appeared on Pakistani television for a live debate with noted Islamic cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi after a controversy arose over her appearance on Big Boss, the Indian version of the TV reality show Big Brother. In that debate, she challenged the cleric for not following Islamic traditions while she was herself accused of denigrating Pakistan and Islam in the eyes of Indian audiences. A full MEMRI TV clip of her live debate can be found at:

Indian Cleric Dr. Ausaf Shahmiri Khurram: "The Extreme Step [of Excommunication] has Been Taken Because the Woman has Openly Revolted Against the Tenets of Islam"

Indian cleric Dr. Ausaf Shahmiri Khurram

The Indian fatwa was issued after the Swayamvar controversy by Islamic cleric Ausaf Shahmiri Khurram, chairman of the 70-member Majlis-e-Shura (Islamic Sharia council) of the All India Muslim Tyohar Committee (AIMTC). The Majlis-e-Shura comprises of Ulema (Islamic scholars), clerics, and community leaders. According to another Indian media report, Ausaf Shahmiri Khurram said:[1]

"[Veena Malik] has been excommunicated and no member of the community will entertain her from now on…

"The extreme step has been taken because the woman has openly revolted against the tenets of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad. You are a Muslim only if you follow the rules of the religion. She has made a laughing stock of the community. The social boycott became necessary to stop our community girls from following her example…"

According to another Indian media report, Ausaf Shahmiri Khurram said:[2]

"We were getting complaints from concerned community members who said that the activities of this Pakistani actress… [are] sending a wrong message to our teenagers, especially girls…

"The complaints said that there were offensive photographs of this woman all over the internet and that she was going to have a 'Swayamvar' [choosing a groom on a reality show by the same name] on television. Islam has a certain procedure for a 'Nikah.' We do not have 'Swayamvar' …"

Veena Malik's Father: "[My Stand] is That of a Muslim; I did not Consider It Appropriate to Talk to Her [After the Controversy]; We had Said Don't Go to India Because India is Our Enemy Country"

Veena Malik's father Aslam Malik interviewed by Dawn News television channel

After the FHM nude picture controversy, Veena Malik's father Aslam Malik, who is a former Pakistani soldier, disowned her in an emotional outburst, stating: "I have severed all ties with her and I don't want her to have any share in whatever meagre assets I have until she is cleared of the controversy and pledges not to visit India again."[3]

On December 3, 2011, Aslam Malik, who was asked by the Pakistani television channel Dawn News to comment on the controversy, said:[4]

"[My stand] is that of a Muslim. And my reaction is also the only one that could come from a Pakistani … I did not consider it appropriate to talk to her [after the controversy arose] because if I talk, it is clear that she will say, dad, it is a lie. But I want these facts – whether they are lies or true – to be clarified…

"[Regarding previous controversies involving her appearance on Big Boss] Me and my son, who is an attorney, had asked her to quit Big Boss and return [to Pakistan]… After that she had promised that yes, this time, god willing … [I will return]. We had said not to go to India because India is our enemy country; it will never accept us Pakistanis in their hearts and minds…"

Pakistani Cleric Abdul Qavi: "Shame for All Muslims"

Veena Malik during a January 2011 debate with Islamic cleric Abdul Qavi

Maulana Abdul Qavi is a leading Islamic scholar in Pakistan, who was confronted by Veena Malik during a live television debate in January 2011 over the controversy surrounding her appearance on the Big Boss reality show.[5]

Following the publication of the nude photograph, Maulana Abdul Qavi described the controversy as "shame for all Muslims."[6]

Veena Malik was also criticized by various sections of Pakistani society. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik – who is not related to Veena Malik – warned of "strict action" against the actress if the nude photo shoot was confirmed.[7]

Sheikh Alauddin, a member of the legislative assembly of Pakistan's Punjab province, said that Veena Malik has "humiliated the nation, the Pakistan Army, the ISI, and other Pakistani models by posing with an ISI tattoo on her arm…. Veena is maligning our security institutions and she's doing this in the name of friendship with India."[8]

Veena Malik Blames Stone Age Social Mentality: "If Some Mullah [Islamic Cleric] on the TV Today Says Shoot the Girl, They will Shoot Me… They Still Live in the Stone Age'…

Veena Malik received threats from sections of the Pakistani society and state, including the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). According to a media report:[9]

"Even the military establishment [of Pakistan] has got involved. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is blamed in India for sponsoring terrorism. A text message sent to local journalists from the Pakistani military's public relations machinery complained that the affair was 'the height of humiliation for Pakistan, done by a Pakistani on Indian soil'…

"[Veena Malik defended her decision to pose nude, but also alleged that the photo was altered, stating:] 'The things I have done in life, I have the guts to stand by. This is my body; this is my life… This is my body, and I will take advantage of it if I want to. And it's a very beautiful body.

'But I will not allow any man out there to morph my picture and put it on the cover, just to sell their magazine. They are gaining. I'm losing…."

'I'm living my life on my own terms… If somebody does not agree with that, if somebody does not want to understand, it's pretty OK with me. I did not commit any crime in my life.

'If some mullah [Islami cleric] on the TV today says shoot the girl, they will shoot me. But the guy who removed my clothes using some technology, at least say something against him.

'This attitude, I'm sorry, is in the society. When they say they have become modern, grown up, that's wrong. They still live in the Stone Age…

'My choice was a bikini shoot. And I did a bikini shoot. They removed my bikini, later on. It was not a topless, and not a nude, shoot. It was a completely covered shoot … When the upper portion of the model is completely covered by the hands, you can't call it topless.'"

MEMRI Archives – Veena Malik Confronts Islamic Cleric after Being Accused of Disgracing Pakistan and Islam on Indian Reality TV Show: 'Pakistan is Infamous for Many Other Reasons than Veena Malik'; 'Why Just Veena Malik? Because Veena Malik is a Girl … a Soft Target?'

Following are excerpts from MEMRI's Special Dispatch on a live debate between Pakistani cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi and Veena Malik, which was published following the January 2011 controversy over Malik's appearance on Big Boss, an Indian version of TV reality show Big Brother:[10]

Veena Malik: "I would like to ask a question to Mufti Sahab. I want to ask him - where did he see the beauty and dazzle of his sister Veena Malik [since Islam does not permit a man to cast a second look at a woman such as on television]?"

Mufti Abdul Qavi: "Let me say clearly that in the Holy Koran, where orders have been stated for us with regard to casting a look at the face [of a woman], permission is granted."

Veena Malik: "[Interjecting:] The first look; you cannot cast a second look..."

Mufti Abdul Qavi: "With much courage and accuracy I say that so far I have not seen my sister's face on television or in newspapers. Since I am a public personality, and since educated persons and public personalities keep in touch with me, I came to know through them that Allah has granted beauty and dazzle to my sister.

"What does her conscience say: whatever she does, that she goes and sleeps next to someone; she expressed her skills inside some dress [e.g. a quilt], she entered inside a bed with some man not permitted [by Islam] - I want to ask her as per humanity and Islam whether it is dignity or shamelessness? With much courage, I want to say that – Praise Be to Allah! –11 times I have visited India. I have many friends there, both Muslims and Hindus. They telephoned me that Veena Malik's role has saddened the hearts of 220 million Muslims there; Muslims' heads are down in shame…

"I am representing… [unclear] million people of Pakistan. They think that the role played by Veena Malik was so dangerous [culturally and religiously] that to call her a Pakistani or a Muslim is a disgrace to Pakistanism and Islam… I am not talking on my own; I am talking about those youth who come and tell me about those programs…"

Veena Malik: "Mufti Sahab, what does your Islam teach you? Does it teach you to issue edicts on the basis of rumors? You started to talk about a girl without even seeing what she had done. So what if people say - what does your Islam say? What do you say? Have you seen me…?

"Show me a single picture of me doing something inappropriate..."

Mufti Abdul Qavi: "Listen to me. Let me tell you that I did not watch the show. But there are millions of Pakistanis who watched what you did and all 100% of them think that you have disgraced Pakistan, as well as Islam…"

Veena Malik: "Mufti Sahab, you are wrong…"


[1] (India), December 22, 2011.

[2] (India), December22, 2011.

[3] (India), December 8, 2011.

[4] (interview in Urdu language), December 3, 2011.

[5] Watch the MEMRI TV Clip No. 2830 on Big Boss controversy by clicking the following link:

[6] (Pakistan), December 3, 2011.

[7] (India), December 4, 2011.

[8] (Pakistan), December 21, 2011.

[9] (UK), December 12, 2011.

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