May 28, 2007 – New York – The American Jewish Committee deeply mourns the passing of Dr. Tashbih Sayyed, the legendary editor-in-chief of The Muslim World Today and Pakistan Today.
Dr. Sayyed was a liberal Muslim activist and a tireless fighter against extremism in the Muslim world. At great personal risk to himself and his family, he was consistently outspoken on the need for reform of Islamic extremist teachings.
He was the founder and president of the Council for Democracy and Tolerance in the United States, an organization established to promote pluralism and respect for democratic values in society. He also served as editor of a quarterly journal, South Asia in Review, and was an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.
As a prolific journalist and political analyst, Dr. Sayyed sought to create awareness of the persecution of Muslims who dared to defy radicals in the Islamic world. He was an ardent defender of Muslim women’s rights, and fearlessly denounced anti-Semitism in the Muslim world.
For his indefatigable promotion of Muslim-Jewish dialogue and tolerance among all religions, Dr. Sayyed was presented with the American Jewish Committee’s Micah Award by AJC’s Orange County Chapter in 2003.
Dr. Sayyed’s life encompassed a time of great upheaval in South Asia. He was born in India in 1941. Following the partition of India and Pakistan in 1948, his family left for Pakistan as the result of persecution.
He started his career in journalism at Pakistan Television in 1967, ultimately becoming the controller and general manager of the station. During his last years at Pakistan Television, Dr. Sayyed became the founder of the station’s current affairs programming. As a result of his liberal views, however, he came under attack by the Zia Al-Haq regime. He left his position at the station in 1980 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1981.
AJC extends its condolences to Mr. Sayyed’s grieving wife and three children. May his memory serve as an inspiration for a world so desperately in need of his clarion call for mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.