Pakistan Shuns Physicist Linked to ‘God Particle’

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It doesn’t matter if you won a Nobel Peace Prize for Physics in 1979. Or that you were a child prodigy. Or that you predicted the Higgs Boson, commonly known as the ‘God Particle.’

If you’re Pakistani physicist Adbus Salam, your name has been stricken from textbooks.

The pioneering work of Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate, helped lead to the apparent discovery of the subatomic “God particle” last week. But the late physicist is no hero at home, where his name has been stricken from school textbooks.

Praise within Pakistan for Salam, who also guided the early stages of the country’s nuclear program, faded decades ago as Muslim fundamentalists gained power. He belonged to the Ahmadi sect, which has been persecuted by the government and targeted by Taliban militants who view its members as heretics.

The most ridiculous part of the story:

Hoodbhoy said [Abdus Salam's] body was returned to Pakistan in 1996 after he died in Oxford, England, and was buried under a gravestone that read “First Muslim Nobel Laureate.” A local magistrate ordered that the word “Muslim” be erased.

Miral Sattar is the founder and publisher of Divanee.com.

@miralsattar