‘Child Abuse Leads to Great Art’: Newsweek Pak Editor Faces Fury
Newsweek, the parent company of Newsweek Pakistan, immediately took to Twitter and disavowed the editor’s statement.
Fasih Ahmed, editor and publisher of Newsweek Pakistan, claimed in a tweet that child sexual abuse sometimes “leads to great art” on 22 January.
This comes as Pakistan reels under the pain of the gruesome rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ameen, that ignited nationwide protests.
Ahmed, who is also a part of the Lahore Literary Festival’s board of governors, further tried to normalise the act of child sexual abuse as a daily affair and said that vigils are, at best, actions to “make one feel noble”.
Ahmed chose not to express angst or condemn the government’s delay in arresting the 24-year-old key suspect behind the rape and murder of Zainab and possibly other girls. Instead, he he showed keen interest in the serial killers’ sexual orientation by stating, “On the bright side, at least he’s [the suspect] straight.”
Ahmed went on to justify his claims about child abuse by saying that being raped by former US President Barack Obama is indeed rape, however rape won’t be considered rape by if it is carried out by Hollywood actor Tom Cruise because it is “everyone’s dream come true.”
The Newsweek Pakistan editor, who deleted the tweet, believes that “rape is all subjective.”
But the outrage over his comments didn’t deter Ahmed from reiterating hours later that the “comments were his own comments, not that of a hacker.”
Newsweek International Disavows Ahmed’s Statements
Newsweek, an American weekly magazine and the parent company of Newsweek Pakistan, immediately took to Twitter and disavowed the editor’s statements. The parent company was quick to disassociate itself from the views of the editor and said it will proceed to review their agreement, which operates under a license.
A day after his tirade defending child sexual abuse, Ahmed tried to do desperate damage control by saying that his tweets were misread and that he was speaking out of anger.
Social Media Leaves No Stone Unturned in Lashing Out at Ahmed
After his egregious and irresponsible remarks, social media went into a tizzy and slammed him for his brutal and highly disturbing tweets. People from all over the country and even outside Pakistan have condemned his disgusting remarks.
New-York based Egyptian-American journalist and commentator Mona Eltahaway called the now tainted editor’s tweets’ “misogynistic, racist and homophobic.”
Ibrahim Tanweer, along with other Twitter users, castigated Fasih Ahmed.
One Facebook user, Syed Faizan Raza Rizvi, stated that it is about time to hold men accountable for such atrocious remarks, and that nobody should think they can express such thoughts without any shame or guilt.
There were many who chose not only to denounce his remark, but called out the publication for letting him continue to head the post.
Jeremy McLellan, a renowned US based comedian, took to Facebook to question the Newsweek International, the parent company, for letting the disgraced editor continue as the editor of the paper.
A website called Mangobaaz lashed out at Fasih Ahmed for showing a “consistent pattern of such behaviour.”
Fasih Ahmed has worked with The Wall Street Journal in the past and won a 2008 New York Press Club Award for Newsweek International’s coverage of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. In 2013, Newsweek Pakistan won the UN Correspondents Association award for its coverage of Pakistan’s dangerous polio vaccination campaign.
According to Newsweek Pakistan’s Facebook page, the magazine is “the first licensed international news magazine in Pakistan and draws upon both its own editorial staff and Newsweek’s international network of correspondents to bring a fresh perspective to Pakistani audiences.”
Zainab’s Rape-Murder Throws Light on Kasur’s Dark Past of Sexual Abise Scandals
Zainab, whose body was found in a dumpster on 10 January, went missing earlier in the month while going to a nearby house for Quranic studies. A medical investigation confirmed that she had been raped and murdered four or five days before she was found.
Days later, CCTV footage of a man leading Zainab away began to do the rounds on social media.
Her parents, who were away at a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia at the time of the crime, demand justice for Zainab.
"We will not bury our daughter until her killers are arrested,” local media quoted them as saying. They returned from Saudi Arabia a day after their daughter’s body was found.
But this is not the lone incident in the Punjab province of Pakistan. According to BBC news, police in Kasur say there have been 12 similar murders in the past fews years.
Kasur’s history of sexual assault dates back to August 2015, when The Nation broke the news of Hussain Khanwala village where around 400 videos were made of at least 280 children being sexually abused by a gang who blackmailed their parents to extort money.
After massive public outrage, the child protection laws were amended in Pakistan which criminalised sexual assault against minors, child pornography and trafficking for the first time – previously only acts of rape and sodomy were punishable by law.
According to the Associated Press, sexual abuse of young boys is rampant in Islamic schools in Pakistan, with the news agency reportedly finding hundreds of incidents of religious leaders having inappropriately touched children, reports The Daily Caller.
(We Indians have much to talk about these days. But what would you tell India if you had the chance? Pick up the phone and write or record your Letter To India. Don’t be silent, tell her how you feel. Mail us your letter at email@example.com. We’ll make sure India gets your message.)
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