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Thursday October 21, 2021

Imran Khan declared Man of the Year by ‘The Muslim 500’

August 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Muslim 500, a Jordan based publication, has declared Prime Minister Imran Khan ‘Man of the Year’, while US Congresswoman Rashida Talib has been declared ‘Woman of the Year’.

For Imran Khan, the magazine wrote that iff The Muslim 500 was in print back in 1992 Imran Khan would have been nominated as Muslim Man of the Year because of his brilliant performance in cricket, which culminated in Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup -- a sport I have always admired for its combination of elegance and intense competitive play.

“I also was touched when Khan launched a successful fund raising campaign to establish a hospital devoted to both the care of victims of cancer as well as research.

This was his magnificent response to the loss of his mother to cancer in 1985 and given Imran Khan’s extraordinary popularity with Pakistanis both at home as well as among the large number of Pakistani expats along with his own, no doubt, generous personal contribution—he raised sufficient funds so that by 1994 the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital opened its doors in Lahore. 75 percent of its patients receive free-care,” wrote the editor.

Imran Khan became Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2018 after 22 years devoted to building an opposition political party committed to reform; confronting Pakistan’s civilian political establishment over the issue of embedded corruption and mismanagement. This and his other accomplishments are detailed in the biography that accompanies his ranking (Number 16) in this, the latest edition of The Muslim 500.

But what is particularly to his credit is that upon taking office in August 2018 Imran Khan made it quite clear that one of his top priorities was to work for a lasting peace with India. He wanted to normalise relations through trade, and settling the Kashmir dispute, “the foremost impediment” in the prime minister’s own words “to the normalisation of relations between us”.

“This is Imran Khan’s great dilemma—how do you make a much desired lasting peace with a nation governed by those who have neither interest nor need to make a lasting peace with Pakistan, and against whom any form of war would be hopeless. The answer it would seem that Imran Khan’s efforts must now focus on mobilising global opinion, to turn a RSS-led India a global pariah. With his impressive column in the New York Times and the sudden burst of public activity by some of Imran Khan’s touring ministers and ambassadors in America, Europe and perhaps in Asia, that appears to be now underway,” wrote the editor.

Woman of the year Rashida Tlaib, American Congresswoman (Democrat, Michigan) is this year’s Muslim 500 Woman of the Year. She is the first Palestinian-American woman and joint first Muslim woman (along with Ilhan Omar (Democrat, Minnesota) to be elected to the American Congress as member of the House of Representatives.

She took her individual oath of office with her hand on the Holy Quran. Although she is serving her first term in office she is certainly one of the most publicised members, largely because of President Trump who has publicly accused her and three other congresswomen of colour (collectively known as ‘the squad’) of hating America and saying that they should “go back to where they came from”— a trope that has been used by white American nativists (a polite way to refer to racists) since the 19th century responding to waves of immigrants—Irish, Italians, Jews (overwhelmingly from Russia and Poland), Latin Americans (popularly referred to as Hispanics) ignoring or oblivious to the fact that while Tlaib’s parents are Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib was born in America, so the best she could do is go back to Detroit.

Although Trump has denounced all of ‘The Squad’ he seems particularly obsessed with the Muslim congresswomen. They represent all that he despises. Apart from their faith, gender, and ethnic background, both are professed socialists. Tlaib is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and Omar, while not a member of the DSA, has expressed a sympathy for democratic socialism. Both support the various welfare state measures proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders.

Eminent religious scholars Mufti Taqi Usmani and Maulana Tariq Jameel have also been named among the most influential Muslims.