Most of you have probably heard by now of the recent news on the groundbreaking Higgs boson or ‘God particle’. Most of you, however, probably have no idea that the physicist who helped develop the God particle’s theoretical framework is Adbus Salam. Salam, who died in 1996, of Pakistani origin and Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate. At one time, he was hailed as a national hero for helping develop Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Those were the days when Pakistan wasn’t as extreme as it is now. Today, however, in a possible sign of Pakistan’s increasing religious oppression, Salam’s name is attacked because he is a member of the Ahmadi community. The Ahmadi community, if you aren’t aware, is one of Pakistan’s most persecuted religious minority groups. Ahmadis are viewed by many Muslims around the world as ‘non-Muslim’ because their spiritual leader, Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who died in 1908, is said to be a prophet of God (which contradicts Islamic teachings that the Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, is the last prophet in the Abrahamic tradition). Ahmad’s place as prophet is totally rejected by Pakistan’s current government. Pakistanis have to sign a section of their passport declaring that Ahmad was an ‘imposter’ and his followers are ‘non-Muslim’. Ahmadis are, furthermore, prevented from posing as Muslims in public. They can also be punished with prison or death for doing so.
The Pakistani scientist behind the ‘God particle’