Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

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Mohammad Umar Farooq
میر واعظ کشمیرڈاکٹر مُحمد عُمر فاروق
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Personal details
Born (1973-03-23) March 23, 1973 (age 43)
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Nationality Indian
Occupation Kashmiri Leader and Religious Cleric
Religion Sunni Islam

Mirwaiz Kashmir Mohammad Umar Farooq (Kashmiri/Urdu, میر واعظ کشمیر مُحمد عُمر فاروق) (born 23 March 1973) is a Kashmiri separatist leader. He is the chairman of the Awami Action Committee, one of the two key factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a "grassroots coalition" of pro-Pakistan and pro-freedom parties in Jammu and Kashmir. His birthday marks Pakistan Day.

In October 2014, Farooq was listed as one of The 500 Most Influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Jordan. The report is issued annually in cooperation with Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding[1] at Georgetown University in the United States.[2]

As the Mirwaiz (Mir-Head; Waiz-Priest) of Kashmir and chairman of the Hurriyat Conference has both an important religious and political role in the Kashmir Valley, and Farooq is seen as the spiritual leader of Kashmir’s Muslims.[3]

At the age of 17, following the assassination of his father by unknown gunmen, Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq, the leader of Awami Action Committee, Farooq united 23 Kashmiri pro-Pakistan organizations into the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC). Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq's funeral procession on 21 May 1990, saw the most horrific bloodbath near the Animal Husbandry Office opposite to Islamia College, wherein 72 people, including four women were killed; his body being dropped in the middle of the road. This roused public sentiment, and gave leverage to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's political work in the valley.[4] He has constantly tried to raise awareness about the Kashmir issue internationally. He was also shown among the Asian Heroes by the Times magazine.[5][6] He maintains that dialogue must take place with India and Pakistan, so long as the Kashmiri aspirations are heard as well.

He became the 14th Mirwaiz (Kashmiri term for traditional preacher of Muslims in Kashmir) in 1990. Before joining Kashmir politics, Farooq was an alumnus of Burn Hall School in Srinagar. He had interests in computers and wanted to become a software engineer. He holds a postgraduate degree in Islamic Studies called ‘Moulvi Fazil’, and a PhD. in same from Kashmir University, on the topic "Politico-Islamic role of Shah-e-Hamdan", a 14th century Islamic scholar who introduced Islam in the Valley.[7][8][citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is married to Kashmiri-American Sheeba Masoodi, youngest daughter of Sibtain Masoodi, a Kashmiri doctor of Barzulla locality of Kashmir, which is famous for its Bone and Joints Hospital,[9] settled in Buffalo in the United States, migrating in the early 70s.[10] Mirwaiz is father to two daughters, Maryam, 8 years and Zainab, 6 years; and was blessed with a son on Saturday, 11 February 2017. The day marks the death of Maqbool Bhat.[11]

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