Nisha Rathode (Editor)

John Mohammed Butt

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Other names  John Butt
Name  John Butt
School  Deobandi Sunni Islam
Region  Muslim Scholar
Era  20th Century

Born  1950Trinidad
Notable ideas  Co-creator of New Home, New Life
Education  Darul Uloom Deoband, Stonyhurst College

Tedxpec 2012 john mohammed butt

John Mohammed Butt is an Islamic scholar and broadcaster, noted as the first and (as of 2011) only Westerner to graduate from Darul Uloom Deoband.


John Mohammed Butt TEDxPEC 2012 John Mohammed Butt YouTube

Early life

John Mohammed Butt BBC News John Mohammed Butt The hippie who became an imam

Born John Butt in Trinidad in 1950, his early life was spent in Walton-on-Thames, England and he attended boarding school at the Stonyhurst College, before becoming a hippie and travelling to Pakistan.

Conversion to Islam and life in Pakistan

Arriving in Swat in 1969, he was impressed by the tribal way of life and (unlike most of his fellow hippies) settled in the area, learning Pashto and Dari (he speaks a total of seven languages). He converted to Islam in 1970. He then spent eight years studying at Darul Uloom Deoband, graduating in 1984, the only Westerner to do so since its foundation in 1866.

Although he continued to live mainly in Swat, he began spending part of each year as the Muslim chaplain at Cambridge University. He left Swat in 2010 when his house was washed away by floods.

Broadcasting career

In 1993 he worked with the BBC World Service to create a new Pashto and Dari radio soap opera. Loosely based upon the format of The Archers, BBC Radio 4's long-running series, New Home New Life became so popular that it has been credited with influencing the Taliban not to press ahead with plans to outlaw radio. When the Taliban began to gain influence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he saw their radical interpretation of Islam to be in conflict with the traditional Islamic tolerance of tribal culture. In response, he established the Pak/Afghan Cross-border Radio Training and Production (Pact) project in 2004, producing the Across the Border programme to confront what he saw as Islamic extremism.

He has continued to promote what he sees as 'mainstream' Islam, and has been amongst those pressing ahead with plans for a new Islamic university in Jalalabad, offering a moderate alternative to radical clerics:

It makes perfect sense. There is currently nowhere in Afghanistan where a young man can do higher Islamic studies. They go to Pakistan, where as we know some of them have become radicalised.


John Mohammed Butt Wikipedia