Fishel Benkhald won his right to identify as a Pakistani Jew, but he has not been allowed to savour his victory for long. Now his brother Mohammed has accused Fishel of lying or even being insane. He says that their mother was a practising Muslim who had even performed the Hajj before her death. As Mohammed lives in Saudi Arabia, it is natural that he would wish to protect his position. The Daily Pakistan has the story (with thanks: Sajjad, Lily):
Often referred to as Pakistan’s last surviving Jew, 29-year-old activist, Fishel Benkhald originally registered as a Muslim, was recently allowed by the interior ministry to change his religion from Islam to Judaism, an unusual move by authorities in the Muslim-majority country. The news made rounds around the world. The mainstream media picked up the news and declared the man as the last Jew of Pakistan. (…)
However, Mohammad Iqbal, who claims to be Fischel’s brother and lives in Saudi Arabia, reached out to Daily Pakistan and requested us to run his statements regarding his brother’s claims that his mother was a Jew.
“I’m his elder brother working in Saudi Arabia, would like to let you know that he is 100% lying, “Alhamdulillah” our parents both (Mother and Father) were Muslims and they together performed Hajj before their death. Our father Mr Mohammad Khalid Pervez and our Mother Ms Naseem Akhter lived in KSA for almost more than 10 years,” Iqbal said in his email to Daily Pakistan.
“My mother’s father was a Rajput Punjabi and her mother was a Syed Muslim, she never migrated from Iran like Faisal says. Can he [Faisal] explain how Saudi Government allows a Jewish woman to performed Haj or letting her go into Makkah or Medina Mosques?”
Mrs Benkhald’s death certificate : According to her son Mohammed, she is a Muslim Punjabi, not an Iranian Jew.
“I’m not sure of his mental health or motive on his nonsense, but I’m requesting you to publish my declaration in your newspaper on his claim. My mother is dead and I cannot tolerate that someone spews slander against my dead mother and dishonors her memory.”